PositiveChapter 16Fans of Goon Squad will discover new facets of familiar characters, though enjoying The Candy House does not require knowledge of the previous work ... In The Candy House, the connections among stories are complex, to say the least ... Though this book cannot be reduced to a simple protest novel, Egan makes clear her reservations about recent trends in data mining and the public’s willingness to participate in black-box customer optimization ... Egan is aware that as an author she exerts an authoritarian power over her subjects. At a minimum, Egan feels the responsibility to choose carefully, from countless available narratives, the few that are worthy of recording ... Paradoxically, The Candy House provides evidence against its own premise. Far from being reducible to stable memories and two-dimensional charts, Egan’s characters demonstrate that human nature is multiform.
Robert Jones Jr
RaveThe Nashville SceneNo painting could capture the nuances of Jones’ descriptions of women’s roles on the plantation ... Clearly, Jones sees The Prophets as part of the literary tradition of the African diaspora, a corrective to the grotesqueries of Gone with the Wind and the sentimental heroism of Roots. Like Colson Whitehead and Yaa Gyasi, Robert Jones Jr. proves that the slave narrative, far from being empty, remains a vast and fertile territory.
PositiveNashville SceneGyasi’s novel illustrates how meaning accrues, not in tidy lessons, but indirectly through experience and association ... ecstatic passages appear throughout the novel, lightening otherwise somber subject matter ... Transcendent Kingdom, Gyasi’s sophomore effort, appears to be a radical departure from her debut, Homegoing, which follows the disparate fates of two branches of an African family. What unites the novels is the author’s presiding belief in the irreducible wonder of the world, a realm that, in a line from Gerard Manley Hopkins that Gyasi uses as an epigraph, \'is charged with the grandeur of God.\'
PositiveChapter 16... skirts the periphery of self-awareness, her characters experiencing moments of insight but struggling to achieve clear epiphanies. Paralyzed by self-consciousness, Ruby and Martin express themselves most authentically when they act on impulse, moments of sublimated violence and petty theft unleashing pent-up aggravation ... Perhaps the lesson at the heart of this sharp and affecting novel is that sometimes destruction, in moderation, can be creative. Ruby and Martin need to figure out how much to destroy, leaving enough room and wreckage for rebuilding.
PositiveChapter 16Sickels captures the atmosphere of the times in scenes that are painfully realistic ... pays homage to the victims of that horrible time and offers a measure of solace to the survivors.
Jodie Adams Kirshner
PositiveChapter 16Among the insights Broke offers, the most salient is that the vast majority of Detroit’s urban poor lead a precarious existence ... While these snapshots provide readers an emotional connection to Kirshner’s subjects, the author buttresses her points with statistics that reveal Detroit’s dire realities ... Broke is not an optimistic book, but it makes a strong case for caring about the fates of the resilient citizens of Detroit, and not just because we sympathize with their plight.
RaveChapter 16Westside proceeds at an unrelenting pace. Each time Gilda escapes one trap, she runs immediately into something worse. Akers finds time, though, to inject the prose with vivid descriptions ... With its cast of colorful villains and its brilliantly realized metropolitan landscape, Westside is likely the first of a series, giving readers more chances to visit Akers’s creepy yet recognizable world.