RavePittsburgh Post-Gazette\"[A] brilliant novel, not only a story of an Ohio town, but a sketch showing a microcosm of little towns across the width and breadth of America— \'Raw towns that we believe and die in,\' as the poet W.H Auden once wrote in a 1940 tribute to W.B. Yeats.\
PositiveThe Minneapolis Star TribuneIn her first published novel, Celeste Ng peels back the layers of a grieving family reeling from the loss of their teenage daughter ...both a narrative of a family's attempt to cope with loss, and a mystery. The body of the Lees' middle daughter, Lydia, was found in a lake, and it is unclear if her death was an accident or a suicide. Ng divides the chapters between past and present ... Although bright, Lydia was not the potential Rhodes scholar that Marilyn wanted her to be ... From here, Ng shows the familiar spiral of teenage failure slipping into lassitude and apathy ... It is to Ng's credit that it is sometimes difficult for the reader to keep going; the pain and unhappiness is palpable. But it is true to the Lees, and Ng tells all.
RavePittsburgh Post-GazetteBy chronicling the lives of a pair of youngsters in Europe, Anthony Doerr has given readers a chilling look at the German occupation of France in World War II … There is a palpable buildup of tension as Werner’s unit enters the outskirts of Saint-Malo, and as Marie-Laure is left to her own devices when Etienne is detained for questioning by the German occupiers. Mr. Doerr doesn’t disappoint the reader in bringing both of the youngsters’ lives to a dramatic counterpoint … The craftsmanship of Mr. Doerr’s book is rooted in his ability to inhabit the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner … In the century before the two world wars, Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman said: ‘War is cruelty.’ Mr. Doerr has depicted two youngsters who demonstrate this very point.
MixedThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteIt could be argued at this point that Mr. Lethem is beginning to juggle too many balls in the air ... Bruno's life is a puzzle, and Mr. Lethem’s tale doesn't do much to clarify it. Longtime readers of this author might well find themselves wishing that Rose Zimmer or Lionel Essrog would make a cameo appearance, just to make the story a little more...well, heroic.
PositiveThe Pittsburgh Post-GazetteMr. Mosley always gives the Easy Rawlins novels a thorough description of black life and culture in the Los Angeles area in the 1950s and the 1960s. Much like Raymond Chandler did in his portrait of Southern California for his fictional private eye Philip Marlowe, or Dashiell Hammett did with Sam Spade, Mr. Mosley takes readers into the worlds of everyone from psychopathic criminals to business magnates, along with the minor players such as con men, tipsters, career criminals and cops. Each book is a triptych to another part of Easy Rawlins’ world ... Fans will be glad to know that another dangerous man, Fearless Jones, makes several appearances in this novel. Jones is another of Mr. Mosley’s characters, featured in three stand-alone novels as the main character. The entertainment value of Mr. Mosley’s latest book doesn’t rule out a corresponding educational side. In the era in which Mr. Mosley sets the story, it was very difficult for a black man to work within the confines of a legal and judicial system that was overwhelmingly white and biased. More than anything else, Easy Rawlins is a man alone, making his own path that others may later follow.
PositivePittsburgh Post-GazetteMr. Irving is something like a magician showing the audience how the rabbit actually pops out of the hat. Perhaps more than in any other of his books, Avenue of Mysteries demonstrates what is under the hood – what goes on in writers' minds.