PositiveVol. 1 BrooklynAnne Serre has written a self-contained novella in which she plays a delightful docente—a friendly narrator pointing out small treasures for us to marvel at. Her voice is playful, gossipy, and indulgent. She is both charming and charmed. But her story lacks a traditional structure which, predictably, hurts the overall pacing of the story. This is a very short book with very little plot. So voice, and every word choice which contributes to it, matters ... The Governesses seems to invite all the obvious—too obvious—comparisons to The Virgin Suicides ... But, in truth, there is no similarity. Instead, Serre’s tale has more in common with Vanity Fair ... whether there’s a method or a moral to Anne Serre’s tale, who can say? The allegorical fable by its nature lends itself to visually striking imagery like no other literary form. This is exactly what Serre places before her readers—a visual feast, a cabinet of curiosities, a long gallery filled with self-contained dioramas for us to stroll past and admire. Serre tells a tale meant to bewitch and delight her audience for a finite duration ... She succeeds brilliantly on every count, demonstrating both exceptional clarity of tone and agility of invention.
Hideo Yokoyama, Trans. by Louise Heal Kawai
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksSeventeen is best described as \'newsroom noir,\' and put in the same category as films like The Post and Spotlight, but minus the scandalous exposés. What Yokoyama has written is, ultimately, more than your standard thriller. True to form, he has created a meditative and multilayered narrative that is as much about a man at a mid-life crossroads as it is about journalism or a plane crash ... it all makes for surprisingly riveting reading. For those who enjoy geeking out on esoteric procedural details, there’s plenty of that as well. Yokoyama puts his past to good use, extracting an impressive amount of tension from descriptions of a newsroom in which \'war had broken out.\' He relays essential information quickly and concisely, establishing the stakes early on ... transitions act like a pressure valve releasing steam, but they also help to propel the plot forward, providing much of the emotional closure in what is ultimately a very sentimental, and occasionally quite sappy, novel ... But for all its sentimentality, there is a remarkable amount of genuine feeling to be found in these pages. Yokoyama has written characters everyone can relate to.
Lina Meruane, Trans. by Megan McDowell
RaveThe Rumpus\"What is and isn’t true in Seeing Red, ultimately, doesn’t really matter. That small reminder of forgotten happiness coming when it does penetrates your bones like a blast of wind in January. Seeing Red does this repeatedly and consistently, revealing one emotional truth after another, not all of them pretty or easy, and weaving them into a larger story that may or may not have happened as it was written down.\