RaveThe Toronto Star (CAN)This has always been Strout’s great strength: the respect she shows her characters, regardless of how they choose to face the world. More so than anyone writing today, Strout is able to give us, on the page, in all their frustrating and heartbreaking and engaging beauty, real people. Olive, herself, is testament to this ... In her 80s now, and twice-widowed, Olive [is] as ornery, endearing and wickedly funny as ever ... Strout magnificently exposes, along with the pang of regret, the pain of loss and the maddening barriers we erect to protect ourselves from the everyday letdowns of life, the true resilience and wonder of the human heart.
RaveToronto Star...like Joseph Heller and Tim O’Brien before him, he offers up this knowledge in prose at once lucid, hallucinatory and haunting ... [a] striking debut collection ... There is no superfluity. Even moments of tedium are drawn with concision ... Bring Out the Dog is not simply a gallery of grotesqueries, it is a testament to the harrowing toll war takes, that haunting miasma of regret and loss and fatalism.
RaveThe Toronto Star\"By turns sardonic and shattering, Barnes takes us from the flowering to the falling-off of an affair that, though it began as declaration uniqueness and quiet rebellion against the average, falls prey to the most commonplace of human follies and community standards against which it kicks ... And it is staggering — intelligent, inspiring, tender and, ultimately, quite devastating.\
PositiveThe Toronto StarThere is a sense of urgency to the 12 stories that make up The Relive Box. And along with the hallmark Boyleian wit, there is the undercurrent of a gathering menace ... While there are misfires — namely, 'The Designee,' an overly long tale of a senior bilked in a fraud scheme, and 'She’s the Bomb' in which a university dropout texts bomb threats to her graduation ceremony — on the whole, The Relive Box is a worthy addition to an already impressive oeuvre.
RaveThe Toronto Star...a beguiling little book. Neither straight biography nor intimate expose — Ford has no deep emotional scars to flaunt — it is instead an unapologetic reminiscence that strives to reveal the extraordinary within the ordinary ... While we’ve see versions of Ford’s parents in his stories and novels, to have them here in their own right is thrilling, heartbreaking and ultimately enlivening.
RaveThe Toronto Star\"Auster is nothing if not a clever writer, and 4321 is a wonderfully clever book. The Austerian hallmarks of intertextuality and metafiction are on show throughout ... But 4321 is much more than a piece of literary gamesmanship — though Auster’s detractors have often accused him of being capable of little more. It is a heartfelt and engaging piece of storytelling that unflinchingly explores the 20th century American experience in all its honour and ignominy. This is, without doubt, Auster’s magnum opus ... It is one of those rare instances in reading, when, for the briefest moment, everything seems to stop and reorder itself, a moment of true revelation, when the world — at least the world of the novel — makes sense, and one can’t help but admit they are in the presence of genius.\
MixedThe Toronto StarIn the past, McInerney has been compared to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Lofty claims, to be sure, but there is a certain affinity. Not in the quality of prose — McInerney lacks the lyrical sophistication, the gem-like glitter — but certainly in the veneration of wealth, status and personal gratification...[Russell, Corinne & co.] really are quite awful: selfish, shallow, disloyal and, like Fitzgerald’s bunch, remarkably careless. But the fact is, they are all the more fascinating for it.