RaveLambda LiteraryEach point of view rings true and distinct from the rest; none remain central to the storyline. Rather, the book’s narrative feels as diffuse—yet coherent—as droplets of water scattered in the air after rain. Once we step back and watch the light shining through, the larger picture springs into vivid, poignant focus ... Laskey does not shy away from more complex, sometimes troubling moments and themes. She does not demand a perfect bow-wrapped resolution to any of the characters’ stories, save perhaps for one ... Laskey’s choice to operate in vignettes allows her writing talent to shine and makes for an enjoyable, leisurely read. The book does not feel rushed in its pacing and the central storyline unfolds with the inevitability of true life. The moments that stay with us, like one character’s description of the silence of a deer hunt, or an elderly woman’s meditation upon memory and gardening, may come from any quarter. No character is wholly sympathetic ... Under the Rainbow will ring true for a wide audience, regardless of gender expression and sexuality, for its wry humor and universal truths.
MixedLambda LiteraryNewitz makes a clear effort to be inclusive, and the book features some prominent characters of color, as well as a trans woman whose cis female partner takes up the point of view narration for a few chapters ... Newitz clearly enjoyed her research ... It’s worth taking the time to savor the richness of detail in her exploration of proto-feminism ... Along with the book’s lingering, loving focus on oft-ignored history, she gives us a fairly realistic picture of the life of a practicing scientist ... In truth, the details that made time travel possible in the setting remain opaque to readers for most of the book, as does the question of why time travelers are known both as Travelers and as Geologists. But the descriptions of the day-to-day practice of science ring true–including the scientific attitude of openness to new hypotheses as they emerge ... a timely piece of fiction that makes explicit its primary contentions: it pits the Great Man theory of history against the Collective Action theory, and if its ending feels prefigured, it still offers a genuinely unexpected twist along the way.
E R Ramzipoor
RaveLambda LiteraryRamzipoor juggles it deftly, helped by glittering prose, snappy pacing, and a keen sense of humor ... The characters’ wry, sharp dialogue and its sometimes slapstick sensibility owe much to the legacy of Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers. I noticed the book’s sense of humor because it’s at odds with today’s memetic one. It’s very much of the 1940s, and it’s very funny ... themes do not feel forced, but instead feel like a true part of history, a part that is too often elided in fiction ... As for the plot, it’s a rollicking, twisting, turning adventure that’s almost unbelievably complicated, and hangs together on a delicate frame of multiple-point-of-view narration ... the multiple points of view take some time to coalesce. The characters don’t feel distinct until about 150 pages into the 544-page book. But that’s a minor issue, and it’s well worth your time to get past the bumpy beginning ... Rampizoor’s attention to the small details missed by larger tellings of history animate the book, and it’s the light of her perspective that makes it something worth reading, which will stay with you long after you’ve put it down.
PositiveLamda LiteraryThe scenes set in present day, centered around the expo, feel almost cartoonishly satirical, with shades of Tom Wolfe. There’s a lot of dialogue, much of it very funny ... These characters each express distinct viewpoints, but they come across as little more than mouthpieces for those views; it’s an entertaining read, but Winterson sacrifices character for idea in her scenes set in the modern era ... The beating heart of the novel, or rather its lightning-strike, is in the ideas it explores. It is not a perfect book, but it is a deeply affecting one. If you want to lie awake at night thinking of the future of humanity, the future of gender and indeed selfhood, and the implications of sex dolls with sentience… if you loved the Black Mirror episode \'San Junipero\'… Frankissstein is for you.