PositiveThe AV Club\"Whereas the main book itself feels fluid, dynamic, and intuitive, the metafictional one is stark, stiff, and imposing. The two fictions are pitted against one another as aesthetic opposites, while their narratives mirror one another ... Unlike the main book, that story is flatter and sapped of affect. It’s colder, but without sacrificing the complex interrogation of bodies, their relations to others, and their relations to themselves. Like the main book, the metafiction plays with gender, sexuality, desire, and pleasure, but it does so through a different—no, a competing aesthetic mode. The result is something uneasy and abrasive, something cold and warm, something worth admiring for its imperfections as well as its ecstasies.\
Yvan Alagbé, Trans. by Donald Nicholson-Smith
RaveAV Club...a must-read comic ... Alagbé plays with expressive lines, with race, with the hint of love and sex, and the way that love and sex and race intersect in France ... What appears on its face to be a story about the experience of African migrants trying to subsist in ’90s Paris quickly becomes about the mores surrounding interracial romance in France, race and class in France, France’s colonial history in Algeria, and the tensions that these forces exert on the individual. Illustrated in a style that oscillates between intensely worked-over figuration, where the hairs and skin textures of characters is visible, and simple, expressive sketches of urban life, Alagbé offers readers something poetic and moving. The story is messy and uncomfortable, but it is striking and moving in equal measure.
PositiveThe AV ClubCarrasco’s style is terse and direct, and he omits all but the most necessary of details. As a result, the novel reads more like a parable or a fable, replete with iconic locations like a medieval castle, a vast desert, a sparse forest, and an abandoned village ... Carrasco’s combination of direct, declarative prose, violent imagery, and archetypal characters has led to comparisons with Cormac McCarthy, though this doesn’t quite do justice to the particularities of Carrasco’s style. Whereas McCarthy’s prose is lucid and breathless—polysyndeton after polysyndeton—Carrasco’s stiffens up...Rather than reading as clunky, this telegraphic style adds to its mythic milieu, as though Out In The Open were a story that may only be read obliquely, a testament to the quality of Margaret Jull Costa’s translation. This haziness contributes to the overall atmosphere that makes Out In The Open such a joy to read, and it lays the groundwork for the confined, dystopic world of the story.
PositiveThe AV Club...reads as the kind of axial work on which lengthy, rich careers rotate ... Chabon’s first-person precludes him from revealing the psychological interiority of his characters ... Chabon has hermetically sealed Moonglow. That isn’t to say the novel is bad—quite the opposite. Chabon marries the imminent and pleasurable readability of his Wonder Boys with a new formal maturity that lacks the cloying paeans to nerd culture that sometimes mar his Telegraph Avenue. The result is moving, dreamy, and deeply lucid, a book whose pages fall away as quickly as the eye can scan them ... Overly groomed, it feels sanitized—almost obsessively so. There are no missteps, nothing askew, nothing out of place. It’s too safe. And while that makes for an enjoyable—even compelling—read, it delimits the book’s effectiveness.
RaveThe AV ClubDelivering a hyper-political work that seamlessly blends the life and art of the fictional Chan, Liew audaciously rises to the challenge ... Conceptually, the work is bold and inventive, and it sees Liew jumping from aesthetic to aesthetic. Readers familiar with his other work will recognize his knobby figurework: anatomically exaggerated characters composed of thin lines and situated against detailed backgrounds. But effectively emulating Jack Kirby and Osamu Tezuka, Liew also demonstrates a natural facility with a number of storytelling idioms and a chameleonic ability to move from one to the other ... The Art Of Charlie Chan Hock Chye displays the full breadth of Liew’s cartooning and formal ambition. Here, Liew positions himself as not just an artist to watch but a cartoonist to watch—someone whose illustrative skills are neck and neck with his writing.