RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksThe challenge of this novel, a comic epic befitting the emperor of all maladies, seems, from the outset, an almost impossible task, especially against the backdrop of economic downturn. It put me in mind of David Foster Wallace’s posthumous novel The Pale King (2011), also set in Illinois, a sprawling rhapsody about the minutiae of American taxation and its dehumanizing effects. Perhaps the reason Ferris pulls it off with such aplomb — the novel is exceptionally funny — is that there are no limp gags, no mere zingers. Instead, comedy permeates every line — it is the pulse of the tale ... Much in the same way the first-person plural in Then We Came to the End felt audacious and new, this novel’s drip-feed metafictional arc, with the first person subsuming the third, is similarly inventive. It’s a powerful reminder that contemporary fiction is more than its middling hands ... operating at the highest levels of American fiction. Make it new? Consider the whale harpooned.
RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksWith Ozick, we often encounter characters who appear in fantastic guise to disrupt contemporary life. They tend to embody a fragment of Jewish history and offer a warning about the consequences of forgetting. These characters are beguiled, and frequently undone, by the enigma of memory ... Her sentences are highly caffeinated; black coffee, double shot. She is forever pulling at verbs and adjectives as if they are different colors, launching micro-experiments in form. There are paragraphs where form butts up against comprehension, and yet at the same time there is a sense of wonderment at language being so severely tested, puzzled, thrown into new meanings and shapes ... Ozick is always beckoning around the next turn. And yet when you arrive she has doubled back and changed the route, which makes for an exhilarating, and often dizzying, experience. Antiquities is a deeply intellectual meditation on memory, history, and mortality. It is breathtaking in its beauty, erudition, and evocation of a lost world.