PositiveThe Boston Globe... seethes with tension, anger, unease ... [Smith\'s] lines about the place where fear and desire intersect (which, in some ways, is everywhere) are frank and arresting ... A hardness is balanced by moments of gutting tenderness, particularly in poems addressing his mother and her illness.
RaveThe Boston Globe... sharp and propulsive ... These fierce, fiery Boston-set stories are jagged but never jaded ... Wisel’s characters possess a steely wisdom, the kind of smarts born out of bad nights and big hurts, a kind of knowing forged in pain and aimed, ultimately, toward generosity, humor, and love. Wisel writes with a poet’s attention to cadence and precision of description ... The city, and its people, live, breathe, and flame on the page.
RaveThe Boston Globe... finely-wrought and eloquent ... The book is visceral, bodily, and throbs with pain and trauma — sexual abuse by a family member, cancer, the phantom-limb ache of an outsider in a foreign land, and later, as an outsider in the homeland ... In less skilled hands, it all might be too much to bear, but Philippines-born Talusan brings us along in spare, specific, sense-rich detail, and reveals, along the way, the power to be found in giving a name to the unnamable, in giving language to subjects and experiences that defy it. Therein, Talusan shows, one can find the possibility of healing what’s happened in the past, as well as moving into the future with gratitude, wisdom, and strength.
RaveThe Boston Globe\"... electric ... Rooney’s control keeps [the book] from turning down worn roads ... Connell suffers a depression that Rooney captures in its limp and deadened hopelessness. But it is Marianne’s suffering at the hands of her violent and unloving family that proves the real red meat of the book ... With intelligence and heat, Rooney reveals the myth of normal people: There’s no such thing. She shows us how strange we are, how isolated, how confused, how alone with our wounds and pain, and how it’s this that joins us, makes us normal. And what a rare, beautiful thing to find someone who can, even just for moments, make us feel safe in our strangeness, and less alone.\
PositiveThe Wall Street Journal... a swift and understated examination of a life spent working with one’s hands ... For its detailing of the labor involved, the book will as much be useful to someone facing a renovation as it will provoke nods of recognition from those in the trades ... Mr. Thorstensen’s prose (in Seán Kinsella’s translation from the Norwegian) is unadorned, utilitarian: The words do the work they’re meant to do, without flourish ... He explores many of the same themes as Matthew Crawford did in Shop Class as Soulcraft (2009), but spares us Mr. Crawford’s macho posturing and tradework evangelism ... a reader might long for a little more conflict, a little more strife, a little more of the inevitable job challenges that speak to the larger struggles that all of us experience as we do our best to build a life.
RaveThe Boston Globe...[a] speeding 16-wheeler of a debut novel ... The book opens with a searing prologue, an essay that grounds us in a history that’s been frequently obscured ... Again and again, Orange — whose prose is electric, alive, who holds sorrow and joy at once in the palm of his sentences — puts his characters in front of reflective surfaces ... stunning, symphonic.
RaveThe Boston Globe...this is no ruin porn. The story veers towards a question much more complex and compelling: 'What is permanence?' Radtke balances the personal — insomnia, failed love, her own heart ills, and loss — with larger historical forces and events. Her atmospheric black and white drawings shift between close-ups of telling details — a pile of mail on the floor, a single hanging bulb in a garage — and powerful full-page illustrations. She is a master of silhouette and shadow, of negative space, evoking a sense of potent isolation.
RaveThe Boston Globe...[a] masterful biography ... Franklin’s treatment of this bottled up rage and its results is intuitive and deft ... Franklin herself is a skilled builder of tension, tightening the string that connects Jackson to the world until we feel it about to snap ... As a literary critic, Franklin serves as an insightful guide to Jackson’s writings, as well as the evolution of her work over time, draft to draft and book to book ... Franklin’s portrait of this master is taut, insightful, and thrilling.
RaveThe Boston GlobeAnd as I read, at first I felt wrapped up in Galchen’s prose, comforted by her self-awareness of her place in the 'bohemian-brooklyn-bourgeoisie,' her acknowledgment of the complicated layers of emotion and experience babies bring about ('boredom, or hostility, or love'), how she was someone who had not before been interested in babies. There was, I’ll even say, an almost swaddled feeling. And yet, as the sections accumulate, the swaddling begins to feel tighter, constricting, in moments suffocating, reflecting, again, the pendulum swing of the baby-presence experience.
PositiveThe Boston Globe[Wilson's] tone is down-to-earth and research-based at once, gentle, encouraging, no-nonsense. The book lacks the self-helpery pap that mars so many best-selling books about food, but offers up advice and well-supported information on how we can teach ourselves and our children to eat.