PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"Told poignantly and with a blunt honesty that seems a characteristic of Alinejad’s life and writing, here is a gripping tale that permits us to peek at the inner workings of the Iranian Revolution and consider the question of its health and longevity ... The Wind in My Hair exposes just how vexing it is to disentangle the veil from the context in which it is worn and thus to wage a transnational fight either for its permissibility or its elimination. Now in exile, Alinejad, a woman of exceptional courage, must face the tragedy of being territorially torn from a struggle that is uniquely Iranian and also crucially feminist. In Trump’s America, the agenda of My Stealthy Freedom confronts the further danger of being sucked into the maw of a massive American warmongering machine, eager to drop bombs, to eliminate veils and mean Muslim men. This is not Alinejad’s goal, and she tries mightily to articulate the difference, the possibility, of opposing both those who enforce the veil and those who wish to ban it.\
RaveThe GuardianIn the pages of Directorate S, the story is delivered with a literary prowess that has been absent in previous western accounts of America’s longest running war. The dance of blame, with the US swaying at one moment towards Pakistan and the next towards Afghanistan, is a choreography familiar to CIA chiefs, US presidents and writers who have tackled the subject. Coll refuses to follow this tired tune, and the result is masterful ... In the 15-year story that Directorate S tells, Afghanistan has been built a bit and bombed a lot, the Taliban have been fought with and then courted, the Pakistanis embraced then abandoned. What the British tried to document in Curzon’s day the Americans refused to learn; there is indeed trouble on the Frontier again, and in Directorate S we have the definitive account of it.
RaveThe Barnes & Noble ReviewThe suspense...is tremendous, a vivid explication 'of how a situation can turn from benign to brutal in the blink of an eye, the space of a breath' ... the tensely pulled tendons of her fiction have prompted critics to focus on the way her novels mingle the thrilling nature of fear with the mystery of the unknown. The mastery is visible here, even when there is no mystery, just the magnification of a moment of terror ... O’Farrell’s book is a long and lyric pause on life’s aborted endings; there is no clichéd prescription to the ready-made gratitude of end-of-life memoirs here. O’Farrell offers instead an invitation to hover intellectually and emotionally on the precipice with her.
Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
RaveThe Barnes & Noble ReviewThe losses contained in the pages of When They Call You a Terrorist are acute, but they are rendered with lucidity and lyricism; the endings of many chapters have a lilting, almost incantatory rhythm ... Hardship can birth tenacity more formidable than fear, and Patrisse Khan-Cullors’s story, told so evocatively in When They Call You a Terrorist, is proof of it. Even as she acknowledges the dire character of the present, she refuses to bow before it.
PositiveThe Barnes and Noble ReviewThe intertwining of the families, two contrasting models of motherhood equally possible in contemporary America, sets up the conflict... In this, the central action of Little Fires Everywhere, Ng is masterful, exposing with terrifying acuity just how the well-meaning wealthy, afforded so much moral reverence in contemporary America, can be cruel and even evil ...question of who qualifies as a good mother, along with the idea that the state or the wealthy and the white must protect immigrant children from the cruelties of their unfit immigrant parents, are issues woven through... Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere does just that, isolating and teasing out the threads of class conformity, racist fear, and the hierarchies and codes that partake subtly of both.
Édouard Louis, Trans. by Michael Lucey
RaveThe Barnes & Noble Review\"The events in the book, as the author Édouard Louis has recounted in several interviews, are all true, and they are also terrifying ... The intimate drama of Eddy’s struggle vis-à-vis his sexuality is set against a larger landscape of constraint and claustrophobia that we rarely reflected in literature on or about France ... At the end of The End of Eddy, as all though life itself, there is no complete self-acceptance, no final liberation; for Eddy and for everyone, the struggle to love oneself is always contradictory and never complete.\
Omar El Akkad
RaveThe Barnes & Noble Review[American War] is proof of the premise that while philosophy can urge contemplation, it is fiction that can lure us into compassion ... The world of American War is a prophetic one, with loss and privation and conflict the cornerstones. It is also a compelling one, the warp and weft of its details constructing a universe whose internal logic is as convincing as any real-world account. All of it can be chalked up to Akkad’s mastery of detail, his depiction of an ecological collapse hastening the end of human compassion, filial feeling, normalcy, beauty, and possibility ... It’s a species of fear we could do with more of right now.
RaveThe Barnes & Noble ReviewThe literary genealogy that Elkins constructs for the walking, idling, loitering, wandering woman in Flâneuse is urgent also for its connection to feminist efforts in places that do not appear in the book ... In Flâneuse, Elkins undoes women’s penchant for self-blame by revealing feminine discomfort in urban spaces as a product of our exclusion from the right to freely explore them. The consequences go beyond chafing at the boundary: Creativity is the product of an alchemy that involves who we are, what we see and where we see it. Elkins presents an assessment of the cost of staying home, of closing ourselves to the inspirational, generative, or romantic encounter — walled and warded off by getting in a car, or a bus, or a train, by saying no to that risky endeavor: taking a walk.
RaveThe New Republic...deftly and terrifyingly underscores the absurdity of a society tacitly ordered by skin color and the privileges accrued by those who have ended up at the winning end, circled and watched by those who have not ... In other stories, Gay employs the surreal and allegorical to explore the contradictions of desire, of the yearning for motherhood and the cruelty that women can inflict on other women ... Difficult Women is a dark book, pulsing with repressed anger that emerges in sudden starts and with the accompaniment of violence...It takes courage to write such a book, to bank on un-likeability, on women unraveling in such a variety of ways. In reveling in this exposure of rage, Roxane Gay charts a markedly different literary course than is routinely allotted to the 'diverse' or 'minority' female author ... Gay peels it all back, exposing the raw, the enraged and the perversely beautiful.
PositiveThe New RepublicIt is precisely this myth—that violations buried are violations dead—that Jessica Valenti dissects with precision in her memoir Sex Object...Sharp and prescient, Sex Object is also an antidote to the fun and flirty feminism of selfies and self-help that has been the mainstay of the early 2000s. As Valenti says, 'the feminism that is popular right now is using optimism and humor to undo the damage that sexism has wrought,' taking Amy Schumer, Beyonce, and Sheryl Sandberg for its heroines. Along with Andi Zeisler’s recent book We Were Feminists Once—about the t-shirt slogan-style commodification of feminism and female empowerment—Valenti’s book is a long awaited corrective.