PositiveThe New York Times Book Review... takes place in the uncomfortably near future, and banal language is redeployed with sinister portent ... For four decades now, Ishiguro has written eloquently about the balancing act of remembering without succumbing irrevocably to the past. Memory and the accounting of memory, its burdens and its reconciliation, have been his subjects. With Klara and the Sun, I began to see how he has mastered the adjacent theme of obsolescence ... Klara is likable enough — as she was manufactured to be — but it’s hard to empathize with her on the page, which is maybe the point. The stilted affect that so often characterizes Ishiguro’s prose and dialogue — an incantatory flatness that belies its revelatory ability — serves its literal function ... complements [Ishiguro\'s] brilliant vision, though it doesn’t reach the artistic heights of his past achievements.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"Smyth’s memoir is most absorbing when it is absorbed in her own life, especially in her portrait of her father, whose alcoholism creeps deftly into the narrative ... Her prose is so fluid and clear throughout that it’s not surprising to observe her view of her family, its cracks and fissures, sharpen into unsparing focus. The truth is, I didn’t retain much of Smyth’s commentary on Woolf. It is insightful and reverent, but not revelatory, at least not to someone who has studied her work ... [Smyth\'s] exploration of grown-up love, the kind that accounts for who the loved one actually is, not who you want him or her to be, gains power and grace as her story unfolds. I suspect her book could itself become solace for people navigating their way through the complexities of grief for their fallen idols. And they will be lucky to have it.\
PositiveTIMEThe narrator’s unaffected voice masks the structural complexity of this novel, and its density. Every scene, every attribute pays off–the way, for example, the narrator’s involvement in Aimée’s goodwill project taps into her mother’s lifelong work as a community organizer ... Smith has always been smart about being funny ... Aimée is a bit of a caricature, which makes the narrator’s willingness to serve her frustrating and hampers the power of those sections of the book.
PositiveTIMEIf The Past reads like a long short story, that’s not a bad thing...The events that alter our existence, her novel says, happen not with a quake but with a shiver.