RaveAir MailWhat makes this captain of the heavens so appealing is a kind of all-American innocence that helps him savor \'the palmistry of lit streets\' in Salt Lake City, seen from 38,000 feet above, as eagerly as he devours the poets of Delhi when touching down for 48 hours. Linking the places he flies between through snow, or gates, or the color blue, Vanhoenacker, meticulous enough to offer a 16-page bibliography, seems to have a near-bottomless appetite for fresh sights and guidebook curiosities ... In his first book, Skyfaring, Vanhoenacker gave us the simple rapture of watching the skies fill with color, as seen from a snug cabin that sometimes felt a bit like a jet-age Thoreau’s. In this new work, he plunges deeper into his own past growing up in Pittsfield as a gay man who perhaps always felt a little on the outside of things, seeing them from a different angle ... His autobiographical vignettes are searching and touching, delivered with an affectionate lyricism that brings home to us how his small town has become a kind of anchor in a mobile life and maybe even the place to which he’ll return when he retires. But for me the real distinctness of his work comes from the life he enjoys at cruising altitude ... There’ve been plenty of books about cabin attendants’ adventures as part of a globe-trotting sorority bringing the mile-high club down to earth; Imagine a City is a much more intimate and thoughtful work.
RaveAir MailWelcome to the strange and ever more fascinating world of a woman who aspires to be average ... In every brisk sentence of her second novel, Weike Wang takes us deep into the mind—and the well-defended heart—of the kind of self-erasing, 800-on-the-S.A.T. high achiever we walk past on the street every hour. And her story is powered by a voice, declarative and vinegary and acute, that quickly becomes indelible ... Rarely has cross-cultural bewilderment been rendered more hilariously, or with such understated poignancy. For underneath the story of clashing perspectives is a much more human tale ... And though her embrace of an impersonal lifestyle makes her sound a little like the Japanese protagonist of the best-selling novel Convenience Store Woman, she has far-greater depths ... It’s remarkable how much Wang packs into her beguilingly quick and readable 224 pages: a story of immigrant aspiration, a medically informed reflection on the pandemic, a portrait of a woman trying to figure out the culture into which she was born by watching Seinfeld, and an examination of why someone might not want to be different.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"Hologram flashes past in an appropriately quick series of brief, displacing passages with plenty of space around them for us to feel the vacancy and nowhereness ... Scene after scene is so clear and precise... that it’s easy to overlook just how strong and well wrought the writing is ... Eggers’s command of this middle-management landscape is so sure — and his interest in the battle between humanity and technology so insistent — that his book might almost be a DeLillo novel written for the iPhone Generation, though delivered by DeLillo’s more openhearted and Midwestern nephew. Eggers’s inhabiting of the terms and tics of a distinctly American consciousness is as remarkable as, in earlier books, his channeling of Sudanese and Syrian sensibilities ... But the strength of all [Eggers\'] work comes from his sense of loss and pain, mixed with his decidedly American wish to try to bring his orphaned characters to a provisional shelter ... In the end, what makes A Hologram for the King is the conviction with which Eggers plunges into the kind of regular working American we don’t see enough in contemporary fiction, and gives voice and heft to Alan’s struggles in an information economy in which he has no information and there’s not much of an economy.\
Richard Lloyd Parry
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...caught something far deeper than the financial fallout and collateral damage other journalists were covering ...in Ghosts of the Tsunami, Lloyd Parry has opened out his celebrated essay to offer an eerie, brushstroked evocation of a whole realm of remote villages struggling to find order in a world of absences ...less a continuous narrative than a collection of shards. Torn pictures from a family photo album, as they seem, his individual stories form a fractured portrait of a country we’re more accustomed to seeing as a polished whole ...strikingly vivid, even visceral writer, Lloyd Parry sweeps away distractions...to offer tightly focused and consuming human stories ...it’s in the realm of the ineffable that Lloyd Parry’s elliptical vignettes come to strongest life ...in the tsunami he has found a horrifying metaphor for those subliminal forces that swirl underneath the manicured surfaces of Japan.
PositiveThe New York Times Sunday Book ReviewFrom the first sentences of The Bone Clocks, you know you’re in David Mitchell Land. Fifteen-year-old Holly Sykes, ill-treated by a boyfriend and furious with her mother, runs away from home in 1984. We hear the ‘dozy-cow voice’ of a woman she encounters. We watch sea gulls ‘scrawking for chips.’ We see how ‘the wind unravels clouds from the chimneys of the Blue Circle factory, like streams of hankies out of a conjurer’s pocket.’ As ever, Mitchell writes a crunchily grounded, bitingly Anglo-Saxon prose that somehow makes room for the supernatural, as if D. H. Lawrence were reborn for the digital age … Not many novelists could take on plausible Aboriginal speech, imagine a world after climate change has ravaged it and wonder whether whales suffer from unrequited love...Other writers may be more moving, and some may push deeper, but very few excite the reader about both the visceral world and the visionary one as Mitchell does.