PositiveThe Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionTender, darkly comic ... Wilson occupies a unique niche in literature. He is a master of creating indelibly peculiar characters with odd passions and traits ... All those peccadillos have a purpose, though. They give shape to the characters’ humanity and fuel narrative arcs that tell evocative tragicomic stories about family, friendship, love and art that end on a note of cautious optimism.
Julia Ridley Smith
RaveThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution... a profound and engaging meditation on personal possessions ... Like many white Southern protestant families, Smith and her kin appear on the surface to be stoic in the face of death. It’s only in Smith’s writing that her emotions come to the surface, especially when she’s faced with her parents’ possessions and the quandary over what to do with them.
RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksProvocative ... [Perry] accepts the challenge of speaking for the region. And in the process, she throws down her own gauntlet, presenting her essays as a cautionary tale for what the future may hold if we don’t pay heed ... Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Perry grew up in Massachusetts and Chicago, and currently lives near Philadelphia. That distance from the region has given her a unique perspective as she ventures back to her roots and views it anew ... Perry scrutinizes the destination, and plucks threads from its history, its culture, its personality; then she weaves them together to tell a story about the place that reflects, informs, or portends our national psyche. The result is a compelling, thought-provoking read sure to spark both consensus and debate, but ultimately it serves to illustrate just how much race impacts life in this country.
RaveThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution... fascinating and brilliant ... captivating ... Groff acknowledges the quintessential power of womankind to propagate the species and never wavers in her reverence for religion, marriage or family. But her real focus here is what women can accomplish when they take a different path.
RaveThe Atlanta Journal ConstitutionEric Nguyen’s masterful debut novel Things We Lost to the Water is a deeply engaging, heart-rending look at a family of Vietnamese refugees struggling to survive and how the choices they make as individuals have ripple effects on each other ... Flowing throughout Nguyen’s novel is the leitmotif of water, starting with the escape from Vietnam. A murky bayou backs up to the family’s apartment. A public swimming pool is the site of Ben’s sexual awakening. A hurricane tests the family’s survival skills. In Nguyen’s world, water is a constant. Because of its very nature, though, water is changeable. It swells, and it recedes. It’s murky, and it’s clear. Family has similar qualities. People come and go. Hopes blossom and fade. Bonds are tested by physical and emotional distance. But family is a constant. It may not resemble the one we hoped for, but there it always is, reminding us where we came from.
J. Nicole Jones
RaveLos Angeles review of BooksJones grew up in a place famous for wide sandy beaches and an aggressive, fun-in-the-sun tourism industry ... That humid, brackish universe seeps through the pages of Low Country. A storyteller from a long line of Southern storytellers, Jones forgoes tidy narratives and traditional story arcs. Her childhood was way too chaotic for that. There is a swampiness to her telling of stories-within-stories that meander and recoil and circle back on themselves, holding the reader in her thrall through every zig and zag ... With childlike wonder, Jones pulls back the Spanish moss to reveal the swampy muck of her youth and blends it with tall tales, weather reports, history lessons, and family lore in captivating, lyrical prose that carries the reader along like a slow river water park ride on a lazy, sunny day.
Dantiel W. Moniz
RaveThe Atlanta Journal Constitution... outstanding ... The female protagonists at the center of Moniz’s stories are self-possessed and intelligent, but also flawed and searching for something ― from their partners, their mothers, their life choices, the world. Despite their missteps, they are admirable for being the kind of woman who, when a man tries to discount her because of her gender, is confident in the knowledge that she is the smartest person in the room ... Moniz demonstrates a remarkable insight into the secret life of adolescent girls ... Ultimately, what makes the girls and women in Milk Blood Heat so appealing and someone you want to spend time with is that they all have agency. And while they might fumble around a bit and make mistakes ― really bad mistakes sometimes ― everything usually works out in the end. And in the process, Moniz pulls back the curtain on some of the more intimate complexities of the female experience and exposes it in all its messy splendor.
Sarah M. Broom
RaveThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution... thoughtful, nuanced ... Broom has done an astonishing job stitching together the stories of her family, the history of the city and her investigations into how developers and governmental agencies contributed to her family’s situation, and she embroiders it with enough heart and drama to keep the reader awake at the night, eager to see the outcome.
RaveThe Atlanta Journal-Constitution...Belle Boggs does not fail to deliver in The Gulf. But her debut novel is much more than a comic sendup of fragile literary egos. It’s also a thoughtful, patient examination of the walls we create to separate ourselves and how looking past differences to find common ground can make them crumble. Without being shrill or simplistic or preachy, The Gulf is a timely commentary on our polarized political climate that offers a tiny spark of hope for the future ... One of the pleasures of reading The Gulf is spending time with Boggs’ vividly drawn characters ... On the surface, The Gulf is a genuinely funny look at an intriguing microcosm of disparate writers fumbling through life, striving to have their voices heard. But what makes The Gulf resonate is the fact that while no one’s political views are changed in the end, a mutual respect is forged that holds a glimmer of promise for a future less divided.