RaveMillionsThe Passenger and Stella Maris tackle dazzlingly fresh ground and are a welcome advancement in McCarthy’s preoccupations ... A taut novel of ideas ... Read together, The Passenger and Stella Maris are a fascinating diptych, bringing light and depth to each other. The mysteries and coincidences are legion, and mirrored moments are plentiful ... The results are staggering.
RaveThe Millions... a breathtaking exploration of the nature of reality, love, God, consciousness, and knowledge. While their core concerns remain fully rooted in the overarching project of McCarthy’s oeuvre, The Passenger and Stella Maris tackle dazzlingly fresh ground and are a welcome advancement in McCarthy’s preoccupations ... McCarthy’s writing retains the tangible gristle of a field guide, full of the organic solidity and exacting diction that have helped solidify his reputation ... Despite his ruthless appraisal of our chances at clarity on this front, McCarthy’s writing pursues a sublime and majestic undercurrent weaving through the dark waves of chaos. There is genuine honor and hope to be found within our simultaneous resistance against and acceptance of the darkness. And so, McCarthy’s reckoning with theory is joined by intentional forays into the metaphysical, forging a discordant, necessary partnership set in the story of two doomed lovers. The results are staggering.
Olga Tokarczuk, Tr. Jennifer Croft
RaveThe Millions... [a] dark star epic ... released in English with Jennifer Croft‘s stunning translation ... a singular, anomalous work, a massive novel overwhelmingly researched and intricately plotted. Rife with paradoxes, the book is a fictional rendering of factual events centered around a controversial and fascinating figure named Jacob Frank who instigated a largely forgotten religious movement in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 18th century. Though it is an unabashed epic in scope—a book that luxuriates in detail—it is not a slog. In fact, it moves briskly, its tone often leaning toward satire but never sacrificing its humanity, tragic sensibilities, or deep sense of mystery ... Olga Tokarczuk has performed an incredible reversal: while the real-life Frank fabricated to conceal, Tokarczuk has invented to reveal. Through the use of fiction, Tokarczuk fleshes out what has been lost to history through a portrayal replete with beautiful period illustrations, the ghostly presence of a forgotten woman who cannot quite die, and a cacophonous ecosystem of characters. Especially moving are the closing portrayals of the characters that have been most used by Frank: Eva, his daughter and heir-apparent; Hayah, his cousin; and Nahman, his devoted apostle. To name just a few ... a sui generis work that presents a beautifully nuanced take upon belief ... provides narrative closure but few answers. Like Yente, we are left hovering in consideration over this beautiful and dizzying book that will almost certainly become a defining work of its generation.
RaveThe MillionsShaky Town is a tough and beautiful mural of a novel constructed though interwoven short stories that explore the streets of East Los Angeles in the 1980s. Eschewing even the faintest strain of stereotypical L.A. glam, Shaky Town is populated with chain link fences instead of pools, pollution instead of seashores, and the \'watercolor sadness of smog,\' as an art professor tells his students ... With Shaky Town, Lou Mathews has constructed a prismatic singularity replete with elegant and empathetic renderings of people forced to weigh difficult choices. The stories gleam, despite their sadness, with the glow of every person’s potential to rise above the wreckage that surrounds them or, if nothing else, to go down swinging for what they know, beyond all else, is true.
Laszlo Krasznahorkai, Trans. by Ottilie Mulzet
RaveThe Millions... superb ... a manic Greek chorus that infuses festive Technicolor into his multifaceted, bleak vision. It is Krasznahorkai’s funniest and most profound book and, quite possibly, also his most accessible. Krasznahorkai has hinted that this may be his final novel and, if that’s the case, then it is a tremendous sendoff to one of our most talented writers ... Krasznahorkai is an uncommonly generous writer. Even as he teases, maligns, and undermines his characters, he remains empathetic to their plights and blind spots, for he knows that even the most evil deeds are conjured by brokenness ... sections flow easily as Krasznahorkai’s meandering prose swaps points of view at each paragraph break, allowing his characters’ opinions to mesh and conflict. Incredible distance is covered in an oddly intimate, if disorienting, way. While this tactic can make a new reader initially seasick, the reader who sticks with it finds the going easier and the rewards many. The emotional and psychological realizations Krasznahorkai can evoke are singular and breathtaking ... As the world seeks to reduce and streamline communication, and as our attention spans are attenuated by our thirst for digital-world dopamine-hits, Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming presents a powerful rebuttal to our infatuation with easy, saccharine anger ... precisely the novel we need in these difficult, foreboding times.