RaveNewsdayGilbert unfurls the premiere of the play in rapturous, breathless chapters that, in a tour de force of literary mimicry, are punctuated with reviews by Brooks Atkinson from The New York Times and Walter Winchell for the now-defunct New York Daily Mirror ... For fans of Gilbert’s best-known work, Eat, Pray, Love, there are no concrete similarities with her juggernaut memoir. Yet City of Girls embraces some of the same themes ... City of Girls is an unbeatable beach read, loaded with humor and insight.
RaveNewsday...[a] hilarious, heart-shattering, deeply lovable novel ... If Queenie sounds a little like 2019’s answer to Bridget Jones’ Diary, there are a few surface-level commonalities ... She’s an exceedingly charismatic narrator, giving the reader full access to her texts, emails, and a list of New Year’s resolutions...every bit as memorable as Bridget\'s. But that’s pretty much where the similarities end. Debut author Candice Carty-Williams has created a truly one-of-a-kind heroine in Queenie, whose story is universally relatable without ever flinching in the face of challenging subjects that are more important now than ever ... Refreshingly, Carty-Williams forces nothing in Queenie’s life into tidy bundles — not the pile of braids on her head, not her mental health struggles, not her relationships ... All hail Queenie.
RaveEntertainment WeeklyJamison’s not afraid to root through the toughest parts of the human condition, or to attack fundamental questions: Is my pain real? How do I feel the pain of others? If reading a book about all this sounds…painful, rest assured that Jamison writes with such originality and humor, and delivers such scalpel-sharp insights, that it’s more like a rush of pleasure ... Jamison’s essays sometimes falter when she turns to herself—cataloging her scars or recounting, in minute detail, getting punched in the face by a stranger in Nicaragua. But these are just quibbles. To articulate suffering with so much clarity, and so little judgment, is to turn pain into art.
RaveNewsdayIt’s a brilliant, fantastical framework that, in Hamid’s hands, highlights the stark reality of the refugee experience and the universal struggle of dislocation ... It’s hardly necessary to point out that Hamid’s novel speaks to the current state of the world, with the roiling, never-ending debates about immigration and refugee crises. Exit West doesn’t offer any answers or solutions, but by telling the story of where Saeed and Nadia have been, and adding a touch of fantasy, he imagines where we have yet to go.
RaveNewsdayHuman Acts is grounded more firmly in reality than The Vegetarian but is just as inventive, intense and provocative ... Given that history of censorship, it’s important to appreciate Human Acts as a work of considerable bravery; the subject matter is controversial in itself, but Kang’s nonlinear, surrealistic treatment is a tremendous risk that ultimately gives the atrocities and the characters who endured them a visceral immediacy ... The subject matter is almost unbearably bleak, but there are moments of dark, transcendent sublimity in Kang’s writing ... In examining the effect of violence through both mundane and unthinkably tragic moments, Kang gets at the universal question of what it means to be a person. It’s rarely a pleasant or an easy read, but Human Acts is a profound act of protest in itself. Dong-ho’s tragedy and the web of people affected by his death isn’t just a Korean story. It’s a human one.\
PositiveNewsdayJade Chang’s firecracker of a debut knowingly and refreshingly breaks every unwritten rule of the Asian-American family saga, making for a blistering, high-energy read that’s worthy of its pre-publication hype ... Like the Wang’s car, the novel is stuffed to capacity and prone to random detours, yet its contents always yield interesting surprises. Chang is a true maximalist, shifting perspectives from chapter to chapter, skipping around the country and the globe, and skewering several different subcultures ... The pure quantity of incident and subplot that Chang pelts at you can be disorienting, and a number of her authorial risks don’t pay off but like a good Wang, Chang’s debut swings for the fences, and even when it’s a little too much, it dazzles you with its uniquely American charm and confidence.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyOyeyemi writes with mastery, sometimes keeping her prose sparse and declarative only to unleash a bounty of description and humor a sentence later.
PositiveEntertainment WeeklyKushner’s story is uniquely, horrifyingly tragic, but his reckoning with loss and the fear of loss is universal and deeply human.