RaveThe Washington PostMortality is the undercurrent in Dantiel W. Moniz’s electrifying debut story collection, Milk Blood Heat, but where there’s death there is the whir of life, too. A lot of collections consist of some duds, yet every single page in this book is a shimmering seashell that contains the sound of multiple oceans. Reading one of Moniz’s stories is like holding your breath underwater while letting the salt sting your fresh wounds. It’s exhilarating and shocking and even healing. The power in these stories rests in their veracity, vitality and vulnerability.
Cristina Rivera Garza, tr. Sarah Booker
PositiveThe Washington Post...concise but weighty and timely ... Rivera Garza’s approach is spare and kaleidoscopic, offering a poet’s touch to the unspeakable. The effect can be distracting, jumping from one subject to the next (many of the 27 pieces are only a few pages long). Yet within the destruction and devastation that threads the book together, there are glimmers of hope.
RaveThe Boston GlobeZambreno is a writer who doesn’t sit comfortably in one genre, but blurs the boundaries and makes the reader question why they have to exist in the first place ... a book that has the intimacy of a private notebook fused with the intellectual rigor of a brilliant mind ... This way of wandering through the author’s psyche is both dizzying and intimate, mapping her desires and her despair ... With the melancholic splendor of its prose, Drifts is the perfect book for the moment we’re living in; most of us feel some sense of isolation and heaviness as we stumble our way through the uniformity but instability of our days, and time seems to fold in on itself ... a stunning book that shows how life can be pregnant with possibility, even and especially when we feel isolated. All we have to do is pay attention.
PositiveThe Star TribuneAt times Toews\' book falls into clichéd territory, with such statements as, \'Because to survive something we first need to know what it is we\'re surviving.\' But at its heart, All My Puny Sorrows is a bittersweet story about those who survive and those who can\'t fight the current.
RaveThe Barnes & Noble Review\"...a wholly original novel about that sacred bond ... starkly honest moments give some texture to an otherwise simple story: woman loses a mentor she might have been in love with and finds solace in a dog ... Her unnamed narrator’s journey from solitude to a shared solitude with a dog is moving, for sure, but never in an overly sentimental manner. What makes the book work is the way The Friend reflects on loss, life, and creativity in such a straightforward and bold way.\
RaveThe Barnes & NobleA young couple named James and Julie are haunted by their relationship and themselves, just as much as external forces … Fear dwells and grows in the unknown, and that’s something Jemc explores in her book. How are we supposed to go about living our lives when there’s so much uncertainty and deception in the world? And if we can’t completely trust our partners, how can we trust ourselves? The longer James and Julie stay in the house, the harder it is to make sense of themselves, and that confusion seeps into their surroundings. Even everyday objects lose their meaning.
MixedNewsdayWhile the story is compelling, there are so many platitudes that the prose itself can be a distraction...During these moments, the writing is embarrassingly earnest and clichéd ... Although Hoffman repeatedly reminds the reader how deadened Shelby is, the overall effect works.
iO Tillett Wright
PositiveThe Washington PostWritten in the present tense, Darling Days has a compelling immediacy. Wright is flinty and outspoken, offering a clear-eyed perspective on gender identity. He’s a narrator you want to root for, a person who is defiantly not defined by circumstances ... Wright has a dramatic flair that matches the dramatic subject but occasionally falls into some odd sentences that detract from the story ... 'Human beings start putting each other into boxes the second that they see each other,' Wright says in the opening of the TedxWomen talk 'Fifty Shades of Gay.' His art — and this book — compellingly shows the folly of that.
PositiveThe Washington PostThe juxtaposition of Palm’s fascination with landscapes and her coming of age as an author works nicely. Both strands of the story cross-pollinate ... Reading this tale, we can all remember lost loves and ponder the might-have-beens.
PositiveThe Portland Press HeraldShort story writers have minimal space to make a reader care about the topic and the characters. There’s an economy to it, and Noyes is a master. Take this description, for instance, from 'This Is Who She Was': 'She wore her collarbones like jewelry.' I’ll never think of collarbones the same way again. These are stories that are built on everyday details told in deceptively simple ways, like this line: 'Winter was a tarped boat and the windows dark by three thirty.' Goodnight, Beautiful Women glimmers with the hopes and failures of the girls and women Noyes’ writes about.