PositiveThe Sunday Times (UK)There are sharply skewered set pieces, but also tender observations ... Unlike much commercial fiction, Ghosts admirably eschews overneat plotting or too-pat conclusions. This open-endedness may, however, dent its narrative drive. Or perhaps this is due to the resilience of Nina as a character, who falters, but never seems at any real risk of flailing — she is always the coolest observer in the room ... A wiser, if hardly wizened, fictional companion to Alderton’s millennial memoir, this is a promising, deftly written, often entertaining and poignant debut novel.
Miranda Cowley Heller
PositiveThe Times (UK)This is a novel of sensations — some painfully sharp ... Beneath the glittering surface of these lives swirl suppressed horrors, trauma and sexual deviancy. Elle and Jonah are bound by childhood summers together, but also a dreadful secret. Elle, her sister, Anna, and their mother, Wallace, are products of damaging divorces and dangerous remarriages ... The romantic dilemma that propels the narrative is less compelling than the novel’s deft characterisations, tangle of family ties and, most memorably, its earthy, intoxicating, shimmering sense of place.
RaveThe Sunday Times (UK)... it is his depiction of bustling, hustling Delhi and its grafting populace that makes this tightly written, fast-paced, often sharply savage societal satire such a rollicking read. [Raina] conjures up a memorable world that is ghee-greased, polluted, mired in dust and corruption, but also thrusting. At times his punchy sentences overreach and the rollercoaster action flags towards the end. Still, it’s an impressively entertaining but also insightful debut. The future probably belongs to the Rudis but the reader will root for Ramesh.
Zakiya Dalila Harris
PositiveThe Sunday Times (UK)Beyond [Nella] there are other, not wholly successful or satisfactorily resolved narrative threads ... For all that, The Other Black Girl is a fast-paced, vivid, thought-provoking ride, skewering — often wincingly — white liberal anxieties. If it makes readers laugh, however, it may be hollowly.
PositiveThe Sunday Times (UK)...[a] bittersweet, gently persuasive novel ... Focusing on Cassandra...feels original, and allows this softer, diligent sibling to be the foil to a more showily clever, sharp-edged and volatile sister ... a sometimes poignant, softly paced book that makes a steady heroine of a wise spinster who, when first seen, seems as pitiable as Miss Bates does in Austen’s Emma to the thoughtless Emma Woodhouse. Without romanticising its period setting or underplaying the precariousness of any woman’s position in this society, it celebrates unexamined lives, sisterhood and virtues such as kindness and loyalty.
Niklas Natt Och Dag
PositiveThe TimesAlready a prize-winning bestseller in Sweden, the grisly but moral literary page-turner is set to be published in 31 countries ... Even for its author, the book resists categorisation ... no more a straightforward detective novel than Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, one of Natt och Dag’s favourite tales ... the latest novel to offer the rich mix of a heightened historical background and the core mechanisms of a mystery story.
MixedThe Times UKHer 25th novel, A Spark of Light, bravely addresses one of America’s most polarising issues: abortion. In illiberal Mississippi, where abortion is now banned beyond 15 weeks, Picoult imagines the armed siege of a clinic ... Picoult begins right in the middle of things, and offers a panoramic sweep and vivid characterisation. But her unfortunate decision to unfold her vital story backwards slackens the pace, then creates a further narrative problem because she needs an epilogue.