RaveThe Guardian (UK)During the past few years of Donald Trump’s deranged presidency, if there is one writer I turn to it is Masha Gessen, whose piercing clarity is gemlike and refusal to equivocate precious ... Instead of a weariness, what is present in the book is a stunning capacity to connect the dots in a way that few can ... one of the few analytical books to suggest plausible ways he might be stopped ... This is where Gessen is so brilliant, taking apart the way language works for Trump and how it is an essential element of autocracy ... There is no better guide than Gessen in thinking how we may begin.
Carmen Maria Machado
RaveThe GuardianReading Machado’s extraordinary book one is caught in this ambiguity. The relationship that she describes is so familiar ... It is the expression of this breaking down in the form and structure of the book that makes it a tour de force ... Well now the silence is broken; it is shattered in this work into a multitude of ingenious retellings and understandings. Everything in the book is aware of its own perspective. This is challenging and thrilling ... In the Dream House is a dark jewel reflecting something startling – familiar and strange.
PositiveThe Observer\"At times, Davies’s weaving together of so many ideas feels overwhelming in an Adam Curtissy way, and it is hard to know where this will lead us. He has nothing to say on gender, which is interesting. But perhaps that’s another book. What he is certainly doing is pointing towards the need to reset traditional political analysis, which doesn’t take contradictory feelings into account ... Davies is a wonderfully alert and nimble guide and his absorbing and edgy book will help us feel our way to a better future ... Davies is doing some of the heavy lifting and probing for us.\
Kristen R. Ghodsee
PositiveThe Guardian\"At heart this is about what happens when women are no longer economically dependent on men and childcare is collectivised ... In this eminently readable account, Ghodsee points towards the way our intimate lives are embedded and commodified. Our attention, our affections, our love, our pleasure, our bodies are traded in ways that make many of us extremely unhappy ... That Ghodsee also makes this a joyous read is the cherry on the cake.\
RaveThe Guardian\"Sometimes, Kathy Acker is very present and masterfully referenced – the hatred of her breasts, the STDs, the live sex show, her mother’s suicide, the poor little rich girl, the creator of herself. Sometimes, it is Laing who is more present as we know her from her work, and sometimes it doesn’t matter at all who is talking, because Crudo seduces from the first sentence. Laing as Acker is not a literary device – it is literary detonation. Everything accelerates from there ... Laing’s prose shimmers and is selfish then, suddenly, full of love. It’s a high-wire act. This is the novel as a love letter to Acker. She gives her a happier ending than the one she had. She asks us what a novel can do when unreality rules. She asks what it is like to be alive when the old order is dying.\
PositiveThe Guardian...feminism, she argues, has been rebranded into banality. The universalising of feminism has been a kind of declawing. It has made it pointless ... [Crispin] rails against feminism as self-empowerment, and is determined to rediscover its true and radical potential ... Crispin is unafraid to say that if feminism did actually make women happier, giving us better jobs, marriages and orgasms, 'the proselytising would be unnecessary.' This book’s real bite comes when she talks about power and how women use it. The more money we have, the more we are able to buy our way out of patriarchy. The notion that equality is about living the way men live is not radical – we have to reset the values and dismantle the whole shebang ... Some of these ideas are just floated in the book, and they need more work. But she is always sharp. Her discussion of 'outrage feminism,' which exists primarily online, is a breath of fresh air ... Crispin is telling us that we have to imagine something better in order to build it. Feminism as self-absorption, as an add-on label to a new lifestyle, has got us … where exactly? Where we are now. Stalled. Look how quickly we can go backwards. When did feminism get so small? When it became polite, unthreatening and marketable. Crispin blasts through all this by asking us to think big, properly scarily big.