PositiveAssociated Press\"The historical references may intrigue some readers and thankfully there’s Google for that. But the heart of the story is the Loney family ... The novel poses some interesting questions about the nature of belief and the very existence of God, but like the hallucinations they sprout from, the questions dissolve as the drug’s effects dissipate. What Boyle leaves us with, instead, is a cautionary tale. No matter how hard humans try, we can’t escape the messy realities of life in a world where there are rules of behavior and consequences for those who don’t follow them.\
RavePortland Press HeraldThe first half of the 450-page novel is a little slow, but once the nine guests complete their five-day \'noble silence,\' the pace accelerates and the story moves from a series of character perspectives (each chapter title is a character’s name) to a light-hearted thriller. As soon as the strangers can talk, they find themselves with a lot to talk about ... Readers learn much more about each of the nine as the novel speeds toward its climax. You root for them all and get the impression that Moriarty does too, so much so that she has a hard time saying goodbye, writing a series of final chapters updating readers weeks, months and even years later about what happened to them after the events at Tranquillum House. It’s an ending fit for a book destined to be a TV series.
PositiveThe Associated Press\"McPhee’s curiosity is legendary and evident throughout this volume ... Fans will recognize many of the subjects from the books McPhee has published — Bill Bradley, geology, Alaska, to name a few — but they don’t read as outtakes and are as fresh as when he first encountered them. Some context before each patch of the [metaphorical] quilt [of the book] would have been welcome, just a line or two detailing when and why he wrote it. But McPhee, famous for the unique ways he structures his creative process, has decided to present it as a quilt that can be enjoyed as individual squares or an entire blanket, and really, who are we to quibble with such a Master Seamstress?\
PositiveThe Associated PressIf curiosity is a writer’s greatest innate gift, Joshua Cohen may be America’s greatest living writer. Or maybe just the most focused. His first collection of non-fiction...is dazzling in its scope, but, oh the irony, it’s also very hard to get through ... what you have is a hodgepodge of writing that makes your head spin ... Digested in very small doses—an essay per night before bed, say, or a short one on the john—it will still take you weeks to reach the end of this book. And when you get there, you’ll probably have forgotten how Hrabal redeemed Socialist Realism. Still, writing like this does deserve some praise. Cohen truly commits to his subjects, dropping knowledge and literary criticism all over the place ... The whole book is like that, filled with topics that will be foreign to most readers, forcing them to really engage if they want to comprehend any of it ... you’ll find essays here to love ... You’ll just have to work at it.
RaveAssociated PressBarbara Kingsolver does something amazing in her new novel ... The novel alternates eras from chapter to chapter and Kingsolver has a little writerly fun ending each chapter with the word(s) that name the next one ... Uncovering and appreciating the connections is the best reason to read the book ... Both stories are compelling ... It is a novel well worth your time.
Andre Dubus III
PositiveThe Associated Press\"Gone So Long isn’t a thriller, but it’s taut with tension. Dubus manages to keep readers on edge despite telling a tale in which very little happens in the present ... The characters are complex, but Dubus’ writing is simple as he fleshes them out ... Gone So Long is a multilayered character study, told in flashbacks and memoir excerpts and present-day prose, slowly revealing the strength and resilience of its two main female characters and ending with a hint of hope.\
PositiveThe Associated Press...firmly grounded in the present, but with the same sense of twisted nostalgia that has always marked his best work ... The best stories here are the work of a man seeking catharsis by coming to terms with tragedy the only way he knows how — storytelling. For the reader, they’re even more than that — a chance for us to know once and for all that our families aren’t nearly as messed up as we think they are.
MixedThe Associated PressAnna Quindlen has written a book that only a New Yorker — or at least someone who has lived there for a stint — could love. The rest of the world may have a hard time relating to the characters ... At 284 pages, the novel is taut and well-paced. You turn the pages wanting to know where things are headed. But in the end, the story seems all too unfamiliar to anyone who didn’t go to private school or attend catered community barbecues. You realize the events of the novel are Very Important to the characters, but to those of us looking in from the outside, it’s a story filled with first-world problems ... All told, if you’ve read Quindlen before and liked it, you’ll probably like this book. If this is your first time, it may be an acquired taste, but don’t let this review prevent you from giving it a shot.
PositiveThe Associated Press\"Each character gets chapters that go deep inside their heads. There\'s a lot of inner monologue, sometimes to a fault. The issues are complex, certainly, but some readers may wish the characters would simply act rather than reading paragraphs about what might happen if they do ... Wolitzer\'s talent as a writer shines in lines that say more in a sentence than most writers do in paragraphs ... There\'s much more to admire here as the novel ponders friendship, love and parent-child relationships. But in the end, Wolitzer\'s real gift to her readers is a story that feels both timeless and very much of the zeitgeist.\
Stephen King & Owen King
MixedThe Chicago TribuneKing fans who crack open Sleeping Beauties may be disappointed. The book lacks the page-turning intensity found in so many of his classics. Father and son started with an intriguing premise: What if men and women were separated into two different worlds? Would the men freak out? Would the women create a kinder, gentler society? They're existential questions that would seem to lend themselves to a 700-page book, but the novel's answers to both don't seem nuanced enough ... [Evie] is certainly the most intriguing character, but her existence is explained away as supernatural. She's been sent to Earth, we're told, but by whom? And why? The Kings let those questions linger and instead focus on the men who want to kill Evie versus the men who want to save her ... King fans who enjoy his blunt language and vivid gore will find lots to like...In the end, though, the novel feels like it wanted to say something really meaningful about gender relations and settles instead for, 'Can't we all just get along?'