PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...her new story collection, Gutshot, is a bizarre and darkly funny world made of molten sugar and the ashes of everything she has set alight ... Reading Gutshot is a little like being blindfolded and pelted from all sides with fire, Jell-O and the occasional live animal. You’ll be messy at the end and slightly beaten up, but surprised and certainly entertained ... This is vintage Amelia Gray, a phantasmagoria of sex and love and perversion circling the idea of predator and prey, the idea of impulse and will and control. As with so many of her stories, she pushes against the outer limits of what humans can and will do ... Some stories will test readers and lose them.
A. M. Homes
PositiveThe New York TimesHomes circles and tugs at the question of what it means to live in flawed, fragile, hungry human bodies ... The title story is about a war reporter and a novelist who meet at a conference on genocide and have a weekend affair. Here the body is death—the millions killed who haunt the conference attendees — but it’s also desire. The affair is vivid and real and yet there is a shard of violence in it, the everyday violence of two people using each other to counter pain they don’t know how to digest ... One character embeds rose thorns in her feet; several have very disordered eating habits; people die too young, go to war and hold in their cells and minds the memories of past trauma ... The absurd and the delicate occupy the same space. Another story begins with a family going grocery shopping and ends with the father being nominated to run for president by fellow customers in the electronics aisle, while holding a baby his daughter found on a stack of towels ... Whatever the tone, hanging over Days of Awe are questions about how we metabolize strangeness, danger, horror. In each story the characters seem to be looking around at their lives and asking: \'Is this even real? Has the world always been so jagged?\'
PositiveThe San Francisco ChronicleMarra takes us to a place that most Americans still could not point to on a map, to a conflict we have no fluency in, and in his sure hand, the whole of it comes completely to life … Characters' destinies are intertwined in many ways, which can be confusing and distracting if one gets too caught up in tracking the twists of fate. Fortunately, though the author has woven an intricate net, the pleasure of the book does not depend upon the reader's grasp of every knot – the sense of connectedness is as meaningful as the particulars of it.
Yoko Tawada, Trans. by Susan Bernofsky
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"One of the features of our species, as Tawada reminds us, is that we are curious about other species...The trouble is that there is no reset. The creatures — both human and animal — have been changed by one another. The question is how we learn to love something without devouring it ... Memoirs of a Polar Bear hums with beautiful strangeness. Look at the animals we are. Look at us searching for love, for meaning, for our own true forms.\