RaveThe New York Times Book ReviewScrupulously researched and teeming with facts and citations ... Any attempt to classify this ambitious work, which straddles genre, kicks down the fourth wall, dances with poetry, engages with literary criticism and flits from journalism to memoir to academic writing — well, that’s a fool’s errand and only undermines this insightful, ambitious and moving project ... Perry travels to over a dozen Southern cities and towns, excavating both histories and modern realities ... At each stop, she recounts an atrocity, but also resistance. And she does not flinch when documenting the consequences ... Her tone grows tender as she recalls her dancing cousins or the foot-washing Baptists. Her portraits of her grandmother combine elegiac longing and the rigor of a historian setting the record straight. Equally moving are the dispatches from her mother’s native Louisiana ... It is inevitable, though, that all sites will not receive equal care and attention — and clearly her loyalty is to Alabama ... It must be said that this work, though sometimes uneven, is an essential meditation on the South, its relationship to American culture — even Americanness itself.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review... not a political memoir or a long-form résumé; rather, it is a striking manifesto, a stirring indictment and a straightforward road map to victory ... Every good politician is a storyteller, and Abrams is a novelist with several titles under her belt. She portrays her constituents and their concerns in such a way that they feel more actual than symbolic, more individual than indicative. When she turns her gaze onto her family, her narrative gifts are in full flower. To illustrate the emotional and psychological effects of voter suppression, she draws a vivid, affectionate and insightful portrait of her grandparents, working-class Mississippians ... She is confident in her ideas, yet she resists the formation of a cult of personality around herself. She shares her experience not to solicit laurels, but to start a movement ... With refreshing transparency and candor, Stacey Abrams never conceals her ambition and dedication to transforming the system from within. As our democracy faces unprecedented peril, her time is now.
RaveOprah Magazine... as moody, spare, and intense as a Picasso line drawing. In just under 200 pages [Woodson] confronts the indelible marks of youthful indiscretions and the way we explain our adolescence to our adult self in lovely, granular mise-en-scènes ... The beauty of this work is in its velvety shifts from the past to the present. Woodson shows that to understand the soul of a woman, we must understand the heart of the girl she once was ... This poignant tale of choices and their aftermath, history and its legacy, will resonate with mothers and daughters. There is pain on these pages, but hope glimmers between the lines. If trauma is a cursed heirloom handed down through the decades, maybe love is the cure passed upward from the young to the old, a bright promise that gleams like a hidden bar of gold.
PositiveOprah MagazineNovels of psychological suspense often employ unreliable narrators, but Buckhanon, who’s also known for her work as an on-air true crime expert, employs the device not to keep readers off-balance, but rather to evoke Autumn’s fragility and raise universal questions about mental illness, racism, and love ... fiercely astute.
RaveSan Francisco ChronicleAlthough the plot is straightforward, even familiar, Morrison embellishes this template with characters who manage to be at once idiosyncratic and realistic ... The writing reads like a love letter to a generation that took the English language, lubricated its syntax and bent meanings as the situation required ... The result is not poetry, exactly, yet the characters communicate in such a way that there are subtle metaphors in every exchange. The events of this narrative are striking and arresting ... brutal truths about the history of race in America are displayed without sentimentality or animus. As always, Morrison\'s prose is immaculate, jaw-dropping in its beauty and audacity ... Morrison is known for a certain brutality in her plotting, and this wrenching novel is no exception. But Home also brims with affection and optimism. The gains here are hard won, but honestly earned, and sweet as love.
Zora Neale Hurston
RaveThe Washington Post\"Zora Neale Hurston’s recovered masterpiece, Barracoon, is a stunning addition to several overlapping canons of American literature ... Kossula’s homesickness is vast and seems to have no bottom. Hurston, renowned for her joie de vive, is restrained as she coaxes this story from the loneliest man in the world. The woman who famously wrote, \'I do not weep at the world — I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife,\' makes herself almost invisible in this book, dedicating entire chapters to Kossula’s monologues, with few authorial interventions ... Kossula’s understanding of his own life does not center on his experience in bondage — and in this, perhaps, he and Hurston are kin. Instead, he focuses on the life he lived in West Africa and his life in Africatown, a settlement of emancipated persons. This may be the most surprising aspect of his recounting. While technically Barracoon can be categorized as a slave narrative, Kossula tells the story of his life as a free man.\
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...with the collection Five-Carat Soul, McBride demonstrates a new aspect of his talent. These brilliant miniatures display all of the rambunctious fearlessness of his deeply empathetic imagination ... The result is a pinball machine zinging with sharp dialogue, breathtaking plot twists and naughty humor. This makes Five-Carat Soul a delight. At the same time McBride also plumbs the vast emotional terrain underneath performances of masculinity, questioning what it is to be a man rather than a woman rather than a boy rather than a beast ... Nearly all of the stories hum with sweet nostalgia, and some even dispatch the kind of moral one would expect from a fable or a fairy tale. When this works, it feels as if McBride has happened upon a new genre ... we see McBride at his brave and joyous best, building worlds of dizzying variety and range.
RaveThe New York Times Book Review...it is the personal encounters that form the gorgeous center of this intense, moving novel ... Woodson brings the reader so close to her young characters that you can smell the bubble gum on their breath and feel their lips as they brush against your ear. This is both the triumph and challenge of this powerfully insightful novel.