PositiveThe New York Times Book Review...the chapters pop in expert jabs ... The prose is visceral, as taut as his teenage linebacker protagonist. Zentner’s concision is powerful, even when he depicts Jessup’s struggle simply to avoid trouble ... as complications mount, Zentner remains true to his generous depiction of Jessup and his world, the forces that presumably engender racism ... But Copperhead feels exculpatory. Not that the story lacks for punishment—people suffer, people die—but the significant crimes in the narrative are quite literally accidents. Zentner’s impulse to turn an attack on his own family into a sustained inquiry into racial animus is admirable, but the deck is stacked with empathy. The book’s depictions of bigotry are simply outshined by Jessup’s heart of gold ... Still, as a moral inquiry, Copperhead invites us to see how bigotry operates in real life.
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe story rollicks from 1964 to 1971, careening downhill. There is a fantastic climax, a satisfying resolution. And Country Dark is audacious without seeming so at all. Routinely shifting points of view, Offutt accesses feelings and tones within tense and complicated moments with playful alacrity ... dark, but deeply humane. The love in this book is deep and powerful. And winsome twinkles shine through the blackness throughout, thanks in no small part to Offutt’s keen ear and eye ... This is the Chris Offutt book I’ve been waiting for — an achievement of spellbinding momentum and steadfast heart.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review\"The construction of this truth is the book’s vital energy. Despite large sections devoted to the girls, Wade and Ann, the novel’s central character and cipher is Jenny ... Idaho will thwart readers expecting a defining pathology or demon at the heart of Jenny’s act. Even when situated in the mind of the murderer, we find no answer ... you’re in masterly hands here. Ruskovich’s language is itself a consolation, as she subtly posits the troubling thought that only decency can save us ... Idaho is also a very Northwestern book. Thoughts eddy here as they do in Jim Harrison’s work, and Ruskovich’s novel will remind many readers of the great Idaho novel, Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping.”
RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewThe pleasure and privilege of reading Rick Bass is to see how sacred we are...The greatest joy in For a Little While is the belief, in story after story, in the goodness of all things on this earth, including us. So much can be done, there is so much to learn, if we just remember what we are.