PositiveThe Atlantic... a slim but fascinating new treatise by David Karashima on the business of bringing the best-selling novelist to a global audience ... Karashima leads his readers on a tour of translational tinkering ... For those interested in Murakami trivia, Karashima also includes publishing gossip ... Such anecdotes are as entertaining as they are illustrative of how sprawling the Murakami myth has become. Karashima, who confines his analysis to Murakami’s early work, notes that the way Murakami is understood is constantly changing. And maybe, as Murakami has requested, his early works will one day be made available in English unabridged. I wonder, though, whether what will most change our understanding of Murakami’s work is the next generation of Japanese writers being translated for a global audience.
Cathy Park Hong
PositiveThe White Review (UK)Hong writes of Asians in sweeping terms—‘From invisible girlhood, the Asian American woman will blossom into fetish object.’ While this experience may seem common, it is hard to believe it is universal. But elsewhere, Hong holds herself to account for her own assumptions ... I was struck by Hong’s willingness to share this questioning of her own thought processes ... it is in her ability to intertwine the political, philosophical, and emotional that I find her to be at her most compelling ... There were moments reading Minor Feelings when I wondered who it was for. Was the description of an achingly common experience—being called a chink on the subway—a rallying cry? Or was it to make this particular kind of pain real to a non-Asian audience? ... Hong’s willingness to show her reckoning as partial and specific means that, rather than feeling excluded by the work, I am invited in to think with her ... it is a book that feels true and thorough. It is a book that will encourage you to look at your own life more clearly.
PositiveThe GuardianThe omniscient voice skims between the inner lives of various characters. This level tone is delightful when employed for humorous effect ... At other moments, concision works for dramatic effect ... But at times I wished Price had dwelled longer with her characters ... perhaps this is unfair to Price’s endeavor. Her interest lies less in the interior lives of her characters and more in an analysis of what it means to be a woman in a world saturated with masculine aggression ... you feel the sharp edge of Price’s prose ... it is capturing the horrendously common nature of rape that is Price’s greatest accomplishment.
Yuko Tsushima Trans. by Geraldine Harcourt
RaveThe Atlantic\"... the brilliance of Territory is that Tsushima’s skilled attention to her narrator’s inner struggles ultimately asks the reader to feel empathy not just for one woman but also for a whole strata of women living with little societal support ... the episodes of the narrator’s life are, when read carefully, far from boring. There is something deeply seductive about being drawn into the intimate thoughts of a woman who otherwise would tell them to no one ... Tsushima’s gift is to provide insight into the mother’s difficulties without rendering her protagonist simply an oppressed victim.\
PositiveThe Guardian\"Though much time is devoted to the psychology of his brother and father, the novel dips only briefly into the mind of Peter, the golden child. I wish the son after whom the book is named had been afforded a few more pages, but in those that we are given, Adam is subtle and delicate in her portrayal of the unique stresses of being the favourite child and the one on whom the future rests. Overall, this book manages to combine two things rarely bound together in the same spine: a sensitive depiction of family life and the page-flicking urgency of a thriller.\
Han Kang, Trans. by Deborah Smith
PositiveThe White ReviewFeels as if it is being whispered: each paragraph seems to come from some deep and interior place ... for a moment, the book becomes a candle in the reader’s hands—a flickering white light that is lovely and mournful all at once ... calls to mind Maggie Nelson’s Bluets ... It is her third collaboration with her translator Deborah Smith and readers of The Vegetarian and Human Acts can expect the same linguistic grace. However, while the first two books were clearly novels, The White Book is slippery. It is listed as fiction, but could easily be read as poetry or a collection of lyrical essays ... a work that inspires the reader to be kinder to all that is ephemeral in the world.
PositiveThe Atlantic\"With On a Sunbeam, Walden has created a science-fiction universe that is about women, queer love, old buildings, and big trees. It may piss off science-fiction purists... The most endearing aspect of On a Sunbeam is the confidence the narrative has in the world it exists within. The fish-shaped spaceship becomes a silent character, its face seemingly straining as it flies. Walden doesn’t create fake scientific-sounding explanations for why the ship is shaped this way—it just is ... Walden creates the intoxicating effect of a universe as mysterious as our real one.\
RaveThe GuardianA sorrowful, beautiful debut ... The brilliance of the book lies in what Orange does with this tension. With the plot device of the powwow holding the book together, he has the freedom to tell many different stories in many different voices ... The novel grants each character the gift of complexity. It is possible to love and to be selfish, to have a limp and to walk with a swagger. These people have been hurt by history but are capable of causing hurt too ... There There itself is a kind of dance. Even in its tragic details, it is lyrical and playful, shaking and shimmering with energy. The novel dips into the tiniest personal details and sweeps across history.
RaveThe AtlanticBoundless uses a constantly varying visual treatment that keeps readers on their toes and mixes and matches artistic styles with a proliferating set of genres, from speculative fiction to domestic drama to magical realism. If a reader comes to Boundless with assumptions about visual storytelling, Tamaki will confound them ... Boundless continues her efforts to explore the full lives of women and, subtly, the societal expectations placed on them ... In Boundless, Tamaki tackles subtle shifts in emotion, identity, and power. Her visual talent has long been obvious. This solo collection now proves her strength as a storyteller in her own right and that, of course, the drawing is central to that process.
PositiveThe New York Times Book ReviewChemistry is a novel about an intelligent woman trying to find her place in the world. It has only the smallest pinches of action but generous measures of humor and emotion. The moody but endearing narrative voice is reminiscent of Jenny Offill’s Dept. of Speculation and Catherine Lacey’s Nobody Is Ever Missing. Fans of those novels will find a lot to enjoy ... In Chemistry, moments of tenderness are repeatedly juxtaposed with moments of misery. The mother took the girl out of school early to go to an amusement park. But then the mother left the family for a week. Wang never allows the reader to dismiss her as just a 'quiet' Asian mother. The girl tells us there is a phrase for family love in Chinese that in translation means 'I hurt for you.' This love, rather than romantic love, feels like the true subject of the book. Chemistry will appeal to anyone asking themselves, How do I create the sort of family I want without rejecting the family I have?