MixedThe Guardian (UK)Austin is very present in this novel. Markovits describes its freeways and shopfronts, its changing neighbourhoods and residents with care ... The characters of sisters Susie and Jean, who have both \'settled\' – one for her children and another for a new boyfriend – feel less developed than those of Paul and Nathan, whose careers and hopes and dreams get huge amounts of narrative attention. This poses problems for the reader: I found myself caring less and less about the underdeveloped characters, and irritated by the self-importance of the overdeveloped ones. Though the novel is intricately, intimately written, with some wonderful prose and delicate dialogue, it suffers from an uneven pace and doesn’t work hard enough to keep the reader invested in the Essingers’ privileged lives.
Devi S Laskar
RaveThe Guardian...[a] devastating, poetic debut ... It paints a horrifying picture of the realities of the American dream if you’re from an immigrant background ...This is a powerfully written novel, especially in the way it moves around in time to create a perpetual loop. Each ampersand that breaks up the sections contributes to the onward thrust, moving into a new memory, and each memory tells us about the underbelly of racism in America, how it festers in suburbia. Laskar never seems to polemicise; instead she gravely turns traumatic memories into fragments of poetry, floating in the ether, fighting for survival.
RaveThe ObserverThis impressive debut from the Indian writer Madhuri Vijay is about the crashing together of internal and external grief ... the novel becomes a powerful meditation on the chaos of good intentions—how well-meaning philanthropy can be undone by the naivety of privilege ... a masterful piece of fiction ... Vijay writes with an assurance surprising in a first-time novelist, and is a delight to read. And while this is an in-depth expansion on the history and people of Jammu and Kashmir (humane but never sentimental), it is her protagonist who compels most, as Shalini watches her certainties gradually taken away from her and then returned laden with nuance and complexity.
RaveThe Guardian\"There is a breathlessness to [Abdurraqib\'s] writing, as if each essay exists in one rush, a thought that builds and builds before bursting with compassion ... Abdurraqib’s writing is an antidote to the arched eyebrow of most music journalism. He writes with a sincerity that makes his subjects fallible. He writes as if music matters ... No sentence is laden, no word is overused, making They Can’t Kill Us… a joy to read aloud in small chunks ... Like Lester Bangs, who wrote as if his life depended on it, whose thoughts would lie like lead in his brain if he didn’t get them down on paper, Abdurraqib’s writing is full of urgency.\