PositiveThe MillionsIn their cold, fantastic minimalism, these first stories recall the work of Aimee Bender or Robert Coover ... These stories [in section 2] are naturalistic, if quirky: more Rivka Galchen than Bender.Kleeman proves herself an skilled conjurer of familiar life ... Save for a few standouts, the stories are not as strong, individually, as their original publications (The New Yorker, The Paris Review) might suggest. Several pieces obstruct more than they aid in explication ... Kleeman is masterful at the sentence level. At the book level, she is ambitious and inventive. Once she works out the interstitials, she’ll be spawning imitators of her own.
Dorthe Nors, Trans. by Misha Hoekstra
RaveThe Rumpus[So Much for That Winter] (masterfully translated by Misha Hoekstra) collects two novellas that use the conceit of their structures to question the reliability of structure itself ... While 'Minna Needs Rehearsal Space' is funny and accessible, the second, shorter novella, 'Days,' is a quieter, more introverted rumination on loss that doesn’t sweat its occasional inscrutability ... Nors is a wholly unique voice in contemporary literature: a maximalist working within minimalist forms, hammering her prose into those shapes that will better amplify its power. The work suggests effortlessness and a lack of constraint, even as it hews to an almost skeletal simplicity. With these novellas, Nors replicates the modular nature of existence, line following line, day following day.
PositiveThe RumpusJackson is a virtuosic talent, and his distinctive, maximalist prose style alone will make Prodigals one of the more memorable debuts of 2016. The nucleus of his influences seems to reside deep within the last century, and his stories exhibit few of the tricks one associates with the MFA workshop. There are imperfections, yes. Not every piece lands smoothly, and the author is prone to dense, philosophizing paragraphs that will enthrall or repel readers based on their personal tolerance for abstraction. Some passages and voices are so manneristic that they teeter, at times, into revivalist parody...In aggregate, however, this collection succeeds in addressing a generation’s internal crises with remarkable comprehension and insight.