RaveThe Washington PostDavis tells a very good story and deserves all the praise she won for her other books set in famous New York landmarks. A onetime actress, she is a meticulous researcher ... In this novel, her journalistic skills shine—her attention to detail lends a fullness and context to the plotlines and characters ... [she] deftly portrays this period ... The beginning of the book seems to lack direction but does quite well at establishing the personalities of the two main characters ... What finally emerges from the mix of detailed research and solid writing is a tale that is intricate and subtle, unpredictable and exciting.
RaveThe Washington PostCan a debut novel be a masterpiece of cultural criticism? Chanelle Benz makes an earnest effort to answer that question in the affirmative. The Gone Dead is a startling work that will set your skin tingling and interrupt your sleep ... Reading Benz is exciting and unnerving. She excels at capturing the moods and subtle gradations of her characters who can be upstanding but also shady at times, playing fast and loose with morality ... The first third of Benz’s novel is beautifully lyrical. It calls to mind the rolling, almost musical style of James Baldwin’s prose and mirrors his way of eloquently capturing the ugliest stories. The mystery creates urgency during the second third, when reading feels like trying to fill a bucket with a hole in it. It’s not going fast enough. You want to know more—now. But the ending feels unsatisfyingly ambiguous ... Even so, Benz could become one of the most prominent voices of her generation based on how good this book is.
Amelie Nothomb, Trans. by Alison Anderson
RaveThe Washington Post\"Strike Your Heart is a disarmingly simple yet deeply complex study of a mother-daughter relationship and its lifelong implications. The title is apt: The reader viscerally feels the book’s psychological blows ... Pain radiates throughout these pages, sometimes to the point of feeling like overkill. The worst bad-mother tropes drop like anvils. But one can overlook this heavy-handedness to wade into the rivers of heartbreak that Nothomb so exquisitely navigates ... Strike Your Heart is a finely honed, piercing novel. No wonder it is acclaimed in France. If you are human, it will strike your heart, too.\