RaveThe Washington Independent Review of Books... may prove to be less salacious but no less provocative. Or, at least, no less thought-provoking ... Neither confessional in the vein of David Sedaris nor meditative in the style of the Atlantic’s James Parker, these essays suggest the philosophical mode of Emerson, that of an observant, detached, analytic, earnest, and fearless interlocutor whose intellect ranges over a landscape as vast as the Scandinavian night sky ... The first 17 essays in In the Land of the Cyclops are philosophically illuminating, but somewhat didactic and stylistically ponderous. The same ideas appear several times, and Knausgaard’s digressions, while interesting, can be distracting. But then we come to the final offering, Ten Years Old, the one giving form to all the principles found in the rest ... his artistic genius makes us feel something has transpired. And it is monumental.
RaveThe Washington Independent Review of Books... stunning ... Deborah Levy achieves what other authors have attempted but few have realized ... What Levy has created is the fictional equivalent to the principle of theoretical physics that holds a particle can exist in two places at once ... may not be for everyone, especially those for whom the joys of linear narratives provide transportive escape from life’s cares. But for those who dare to step off the curb into the unfamiliar, Levy’s novel offers a panopticon of new realities.
RaveWashington Independent Review of BooksThe Night Tiger is a galloping good read that’s blessedly free of political polemics and post-colonial self-righteousness. Instead, what author Yangsze Choo has given readers is a darn good yarn ... To her credit, Choo manages to intertwine...plots and subplots with themes of superstition, Confucianism, and the desire for personal fulfillment versus the tug of familial loyalty. Altogether, a bravura performance ... Choo’s skill in creating a dynamic, vibrant, non-Western cosmos rivals that of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in Half of a Yellow Sun ... Ren’s porous sense of reality (and Choo’s smart use of the present tense) gives his passages a propulsive vitality that grips the reader’s attention. Ren doesn’t know what is going to happen next, and neither does the reader. Conversely, Ji Lin relates her story in the past tense, but neither she nor the reader benefits from hindsight. But perhaps this is just as well. Any probing self-analysis might have resulted in a more plodding novel, one that wouldn’t have been half as entertaining. As it is, readers may not be moved by The Night Tiger. But they certainly will be grabbed.
PositiveThe Washington Independent Review\"Febos invites readers to examine the contents of her life. Alcoholism, drug addiction, desire, dependency, she fearlessly lays them out before us and probes them with the analytic eye of a diagnostician. And nothing does she dissect more painstakingly nor with more honesty than love ... This technique of braiding together disparate stories with other material is one Febos employs throughout, but not always successfully...in places, her detours are distracting and the thread wending its way back to her principal narrative doesn’t hold ... That said, Abandon Me has much to recommend it: candor, a tone blessedly free of self-pity, and, for all those who ever flipped over the shiny side of love’s bright coin and discovered dross, hope.\