RaveThe Washington PostFox makes it through all this with both light humor and deep introspection: The entire book is well woven in a rich tragicomic tapestry. We make it through all the obstacles only for the book to be most heartbreakingly tagged with what will likely be a standard of 2020 memoirs: The epilogue that addresses the fact that the book launched amid one of human history’s greatest afflictions to date — our pandemic — and that we, just like Fox, are still struggling to see a way out ... Occasionally the many registers of the memoir fall into disharmony thematically: The dad jokes work well in the voicey-ness of the prose but distract when in, say, chapter-title placement ... Fox’s writing is at its best when it’s barreling into the demons ... Some of the most engaging parts are the ones where Fox’s past fame and his current fame intersect in awkward ways — the actor vs. the illness activist ... what makes the book a page-turner is its tenor: drolly conspiratorial, affably best-friend-y, infectiously convivial and unapologetically pensive. This a book you really hear whether you have the audiobook or not. The quality of the prose, the care in the pacing, the delight in storytelling, all made me reexamine why I read and write in this genre in the first place. In sharing so much of himself beyond buzz words and headlines, Fox has given us a gift we didn’t know to ask for, a gift that isn’t anywhere close to diminishing with his years. You get the feeling that even with these memoirs behind him and inevitable health hurdles ahead of him, many more chapters are yet to come.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewIf literary realism attempts to hold a mirror to the world, then Leila Aboulela’s Elsewhere, Home is an especially vivid reflection ... 11 out of the 13 entries have been published before. And yet there is a freshness here, in part due to the scarcity of Muslim European voices in America. But the force of Aboulela’s writing exceeds its representational significance ... One marvels at a sort of uniformity in this quiet collection that transcends theme, setting, subject. Critics sometimes speak of writers as having \'found their voices,\' but this book is a testament to one who’s always had hers ... This book’s diversity of places and perspectives collectively expands, without fanfare, on all the usual tropes of identity ... Despite the story’s specificities both comic and tragic, its themes of the uniting influence of literature will resonate with anyone, anywhere ... Yet nothing is diluted or compromised in the coalescence; somehow Aboulela manages to create this tapestry devoid of clichés. Her characters are as real and conflicted as we are ... Hers is the first collection I’ve read since James Joyce’s Dubliners that reminded me of the life-changing power of furiously honest realism.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"... gloriously unsettling ... Oyeyemi’s confidence is palpable — it’s clear that this is the book she’s been waiting for ... The Snow White bits take over, with the Wicked Stepmother and the mirror motifs, and the fairy tale rewrites itself in startling ways ... Still, the greatest joy of reading Oyeyemi will always be style: jagged and capricious at moments, lush and rippled at others, always singular, like the voice-over of a fever dream ... Her sentences occasionally flirt with banality, and when they do, you notice — but this could be an Oyeyemi illusion ... Oyeyemi picks myths and fairy tales because she sees the blood and guts behind the glitter and ball gowns.\
PanThe Los Angeles TimesLahiri shies from tackling the necessary tangles and messes of a novel. It is that clinical short-story writer's genius, a sort of die-hard cleanliness and thoroughness, that dooms this novel. All endings are bound and rebound and finally hung up neatly as a flat, cold, dead but still somehow beautiful thing for detached viewing … Every story line is tiresomely followed until dead end, and the final third of the book is all downwind resolution, overwrought and exhausted, as if in complete misunderstanding of the novel form. The plots are largely overdone and overdone in a flat register, creating a sort of novel as lecture in parts.
RaveThe Los Angeles TimesEileen is Moshfegh's most conventional work, almost classical by her canon, and yet my guess is many will join me in finding it her best work yet ... What makes Moshfegh an important writer — and I'd even say crucial — is that she is unlike any other author (male, female, Iranian, American, etc.). And this sui generis quality is cemented by the singular savage suburban noir of Eileen. She tries relentlessly to pull you away and out, not unlike her own self-destructive characters, who seem a bit addicted to their own repulsiveness.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...there is no end to the horrors that rattle in and out of this ferocious, magnificently death-affirming novel ... Han’s glorious treatments of agency, personal choice, submission and subversion find form in the parable.