RaveThe Nervous Breakdown... a powerful, political, sometimes humorous, often frightening portrait of a parallel world that lurks in the near future in all of its dystopian glory ... One of the reasons that this story resonates on the page is Veselka’s lyrical prose, her ability to ground the events in a place and time while also slipping into surreal moments (without explanation), events and scenes unfolding into emotional, dimensional tapestries ... But this novel is not without humor. Even if Della is laughing on the outside while crying on the inside, she and her friends find a way to joke about serious matters ... Vanessa Veselka has written an engaging, touching book in Zazen, one that leaves the reader saddened by the unnecessary loss and destruction. But there is still a grain of hope buried in the ash ... a unique and lasting work of art.
RaveThe Nervous BreakdownTold in layers, fractured into sections, unfolding in a grand tapestry that weaves emotions and actions into a complex series of destinies and consequences, this novel is not an easy read. But the reward is dense prose, powerful psychoanalysis, and the unsettling feeling that our own actions today—many miles from the woods with its failing bear, and its lake with its undulating squid—might be bound by similar rules and outcomes ... You can certainly compare this dense, powerful, and heartbreaking novel to other fabulists, such as Kafka, Calvino, and Borges, but Matt Bell’s writing also owes a debt of gratitude to Cormac McCarthy, Kelly Link, Benjamin Percy, and Aimee Bender. In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods can only really be compared and assigned to one voice—Matt Bell’s—which is unique, innovative, captivating, and hypnotic in a way that only he can make it. This is a book that will be talked about, dissected, and shared for years to come because it is not only his story, it is our story—every single one of us.
RaveThe Nervous BreakdownWild is an inspirational story—well written, and presented with great courage and depth. But this book is much more than a long walk up and down a trail. It is more than the beauty and danger of nature, the details lovingly remembered and chronicled, transporting us up and down the worn dirt path. And it is more than an ode to a dead mother ... There is humor and laughter on the trail, there are sexual longings and conquests, there are tense moments where we wonder if the author will survive the elements, make it through the snow, find water, and repair her damaged and torn feet. Whatever reason brings you to Cheryl Strayed and Wild, the journey will wring every possible emotion from you, and deposit you at the Bridge of the Gods, to contemplate your own mortality, your current state of family and contentment, and the beauty and possibilities that surround us everywhere—every day of our precious lives.
Claire Vaye Watkins
RaveThe Nervous BreakdownWhat we see in this collection of stories by Claire Vaye Watkins are not only cautionary tales of what we could be (what we are in our sheep’s clothing, if we’re honest with ourselves) but tales of war—between lovers, between family, between friends ... With a strong sense of history and place, an eye for the exact moment where a threshold gives, the momentum carrying downhill, out of our control, and a courageous voice that dares to speak the truth, to show us our imperfections, Claire Vaye Watkins has created a powerful collection of stories that will haunt your memories, remind you of what could be, and show you what it is to be truly alive.
RaveEntropy\"Bird Box by Josh Malerman is a dark, tense, and touching story that is incredibly hypnotic ... What amazes me is that this is Malerman’s first novel, especially the ways he made me care about these people, the way he got through to me, off the page, and into my life out here in the real world, making it hard to breathe. Part I Am Legend, part The Road, this dark, anxious, and hauntingly original novel was one of my favorite books of the year.\