RaveBookPageThe transformation of Greenloop and its members—especially Kate and her slacker husband, Dan—from self-doubting basket cases into formidable warriors transcends the notion of \'evolution.\' It’s terrifying. Brooks is not only dealing with the end of humanity; he’s also showing us our further course toward a new, ineluctable, absolute brutality.
RaveBook PageMeanwhile, not one weak word exists in this author’s arsenal. Every word of Duplex, every doomed character, every fractured timeline, drops in the ear, on the mind, in the troubled heart, like a Rain of Beads ... This most awe-inspiring aspect of the writer’s achievement—her own cloud of unknowing—rubs very close to the bone of her primary literary inspiration, the fairy tale, the one genre Davis herself has invoked time and again as the source of her daemonic delights. In the end, Davis’ technique is entirely traditional, a well-turned page out of Hans Christian Andersen’s book: You enchant your reader, you lift them up . . . and then you killingly knock their socks off.
RaveBook PageThree of the glories in Voices in the Night—Millhauser’s set of magic spells, masquerading as a collection of 16 new short stories—go by the names \'Elsewhere,\' \'Arcadia\' and \'Phantoms.\' They belong to a fugal set of variations on a theme running through about half the tales, a pattern as variously realized as it is stringently upheld. In this handful of accounts, the storytelling takes the shape of objective reportage. The narrator presents a chronicle of unusual occurrences—or traumatic psychological conditions—going on in a familiar place, a town just like ours, a vicinity we recognize, someplace we gravitate to, as home.
PositiveBookPageReading The Warehouse is a kind of nightmare. Its near-future dystopia seems startlingly plausible ... The novel doesn’t even bother with character development. Why should it? The only thing that matters in this book is the vastness of the nightmare. For this purpose, cardboard will do just as well as flesh and blood ... As an up-to-date incarnation of the beatific, ruthless redeemer archetype, Gibson elevates The Warehouse to the zone of indispensable satire and dark spiritual inquiry, the space where Dickens, Kafka, Orwell and Koestler reign. These titans of the genre have shown us what it looks like when evil wears the mask of goodness, how it feels when our salvation asks us to abandon all hope and what happens to us when the shining light of progress becomes an all-consuming darkness. I hope they don’t make a movie out of this book. It’s already impossible to wake up from.
RaveBookPageThere are a handful of novelists from the past century whom I think of as sorcerers. Like Merlin of Arthurian fame, such authors (T.H. White, A.S. Byatt and others) find a way to inhabit vast stretches of time, accounting for everything that’s happened before and what’s to come ... Still in his 30s, Max Porter has securely joined this order of poets and novelists ... in Lanny, Porter turns this same screw of his imagination, offering the ultimate incarnation of nature and its pitiless sovereignty ... Lanny is one of the most beautiful novels of the past decade.
RaveBookPage\"Afternoon of a Faun is a sustained meditation on the #MeToo movement, shining uncompromising light into the darkest areas of our current malaise ... Without spoiling anything, I want to bear witness to this novel’s most unnerving aspect: the Heisenbergian principle that no one—not any of us—can stand by and observe a desperate situation without actually affecting and even abetting its outcome.\
PositiveBookPage\"The irrational pull of erotic love has never had a funnier incarnation than the one in I Am God ... Every little chapter of I Am God forces the reader to decide whether laughter or outrage is the proper response. There’s a grand tradition of Italian artists (Dante, Michelangelo, Verdi) who shock us with their new and unsettling images of God. In his modest and profound way, Sartori belongs in this terrific company.\
PositiveBookPageThe beauty of the trees, their antiquity, their shocking imperilment at our hands, their desire to communicate to us the imminent threats to our mutual survival—all these truths join in one song of celebration and lament ... There can be no happy ending. But to paraphrase Václav Havel, hope is not the same thing as optimism. The Overstory dramatizes this idea on the grandest scale. I have never read anything so pessimistic and yet so hopeful.
PositiveBookPage\"I can think of no other 21st-century novel that so unabashedly celebrates paternal love as the complex mainstay of its female characters. Without irony, the story certifies the power of old-fashioned, flawed, patriarchal authority as a redemptive principle. Boy, is James Wood in for it. Read this critically important novel, and have your literary scorecard ready.\