PositiveThe AtlanticKirshenbaum breaks up this restrained narrative with prompts from Bunny’s therapeutic writing workshop, revealing a more complete and sometimes contradictory picture of a woman who’s struggling to rationalize what’s happened to her ... This structure of interruption and doubling back—with some passages reproduced almost identically, though from a different perspective—is disorienting but appropriate ... In treating [Bunny\'s] circumstances as fiction, [she] regains some of the autonomy [she\'s] lost.
PositiveThe AtlanticReaders are immersed in the girl’s state of mind, but can also see what her experience looks like from the outside ... The contrast between these insertions and the narrated passages is jarring; it forces the reader to move between deeply interior and distant views of Juliet’s life, each of which seems to call the other’s accuracy into question ... In treating [Juliet\'s] circumstances as fiction, she regains some of the autonomy [she\'s] lost.
PositiveThe AtlanticSamuel Park’s new novel, The Caregiver, is a study in fragility: that of bodies, of boundaries, and of identity itself ... At the same time, the novel reveals how both giving care and receiving it can be ways of affirming a person’s individual worth ... Park’s prose is simultaneously dreamlike and visceral ... the lines between people and objects, the physical and the intangible, are blurred—giving the sense of a world that is constantly in transition, and that could change shape at any moment ... The work of a caregiver, then, is not merely depleting, but also an act of transference: a gift of care, that the receiver can give back and give to others. A gift—in the fragile, constantly shifting world of Park’s novel—that can always be called and counted upon, though the relationships surrounding it change.
PositiveThe AtlanticAs a portrait of desensitized consumers who find release in self-destructive violence, Suicide Club carries echoes of Fight Club ... The pursuit of longevity, meanwhile, is acerbically funny in Heng’s hands ... Heng faces the challenge of creating a meaningful narrative that’s premised on the inherent pointlessness of pursuing eternity for its own sake. For the most part, she succeeds. The pacing of Lea’s character development is jerky, at times feeling incomplete as she wavers between fascination, repulsion, and sympathy with the members of the Suicide Club ... For all her visceral descriptions of physical detail and sensation, Lea’s emotional vocabulary is limited.