RaveThe San Francisco Chronicle...has conjured a beguiling narrator in his engaging novel, a woman who is, like her city, hard to read, hard to take, hard to know and, ultimately, passionately complex. If Aaliya is a good guide, Beirut also might be savagely funny and entirely unsentimental ...it is the apartment building, the up-and-down of it, that provides a modern theater in which the narrator's tumbling thoughts, jostling memories and quiet actions play out ... In her cranky, wise company, the spellbound reader gradually comes to understand the glories of literary exploration...and also, painfully, it can build an oppressive separateness ... A Beiruti, we realize, must cultivate a certain blindness to walk among the treeless, concrete sprawl and stare down the ghostly visions of former splendor.
RaveThe San Francisco Chronicle[Elena’s] friendship with Lila is its own world within an insular world, and like most girls' friendships, it trades in support, competition, confidences, example and that ‘continuous game of exchanges and reversals that, now happily, now painfully, made us indispensable to each other.’ This friendship tells her who she is and at the same time undoes what she knows of herself … [Ferrante] writes with a ferocious, intimate urgency that is a celebration of anger. Ferrante is terribly good with anger, a very specific sort of wrath harbored by women, who are so often not allowed to give voice to it.
RaveSan Francisco ChronicleYou’re going to want to take your time with this book, so lavish in its generational scope, its fierce torrent of wrongs and its luxurious heart. Anyway, you may have no choice, as you fall under the spell of a master investigating invisible boundaries and perpetual bisectings...Erdrich writes the enspirited and the visible, traveling that bisecting line that separates the present from the past. Revenge can live alongside honor, grace with trauma. She mingles the enduring pain with humor, ceremony, ritual, legacy, reparations both real and false, and so much love, blending ceaselessly until no separate parts remain but one beautiful novel.