PositiveToronto Star (CAN)McBride revisits readings and introductions, giving us a sense of her writing life ... McBride’s deep research and respect for his subject pays homage to her importance and introduces a new generation of readers to her unmatched vision.
RaveThe Harvard ReviewGunty wastes no time grabbing the reader’s attention with this opening sentence...The why and wherefore are the questions Gunty will answer over the course of a masterfully orchestrated multivocal performance. Our curiosity is piqued with each page we read, thanks to a variety of clever narrative techniques: obituary comments, epistles, and a chapter comprised solely of black-marker drawings ... In addition to unique characters, Gunty’s gift lies in capturing Vacca Vale’s character ... deeply researched, and it is obvious that Gunty has a deep love for the Midwest. Still, the sections about Hope and her baby would work better as a stand-alone short story. Despite this shortcoming, Gunty’s colorful cast of characters and description of Vacca Vale capture life in a run-down postindustrial Midwestern city. In her portrayal of Blandine and her three roommates, Gunty lays bare the emotional trauma foster children experience, as well as their desperate need to transition to a normal adulthood—which might mean leaving the Rabbit Hutch for greener pastures.
RaveChapter 16Offutt’s deep understanding of the area is displayed through his characters ... Although the hunt for Barney’s killer takes up the better part of the book, Offutt masterfully threads scenes of Mick’s deteriorating relationship with his wife, Peggy. These powerful sections provide the reader with a glimpse into Mick’s vulnerable psyche ... Offutt’s tribute to his home state is further displayed in iconic imagery ... Offutt has written a propulsive literary thriller with an intricate plot that tests Hardin’s mettle throughout the book. His characters are true to the area, and his keen eye for the local setting transports the reader to Appalachia. Let’s hope Offutt’s hills don’t change in his next Mick Hardin novel, so we can revisit Rocksalt, Kentucky, very soon.
RaveThe Brooklyn RailSloane Crosley is a force to be reckoned with, especially when writing about the romantic lives of thirty-somethings in New York City. Her new book supports this notion with the quirky characters, her deep knowledge of lower Manhattan, and her droll and confessional prose ... will entertain readers with its clever plot, replete with a plot twist and surprising denouement. Crosley’s genius and unique voice are further highlighted through her idiosyncratic characters and her ability to write across genres. She is a rare wonder whose spirited imagination places her right at the top. As a treat, the author may even divulge to her readers the significance of Lola’s meetings with her ex-lovers, if Boots gets kicked to the curb, or if he makes it back home to her safely.
RaveThe Star Tribune... a vivid portrayal ... Christian masterfully transports readers to Picasso\'s studio in Paris and to the Ritz Bar where the couple drank with Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir ... Christian regales readers with stories from around the world, revealing the life of one of the most iconic literary couples. He also chronicles Mary\'s illustrious journalism career and her meetings with world leaders such as Fidel Castro and John F. Kennedy, setting the record straight that Martha Gellhorn was not the only respected reporter whom Hemingway married.
A J Verdelle
RaveThe Los Angeles Review of BooksThe book had grabbed me from the first page. Not only because Verdelle pulls back the curtain to display the duo’s intimate life together, but because of Verdelle’s engaging prose ... Verdelle’s book is grounded in her honest writing about her childhood ... Much of this memoir is dedicated to discussions of craft as seen through Morrison’s eyes. Some discussions are technical, but, as a whole, these sections display Verdelle’s reverence for the Nobel laureate’s brilliance ... Verdelle creates an echo chamber that deftly evokes the voice of Toni Morrison. She accomplishes her mission by masterfully writing about craft in one chapter, depicting an argument she had with Miss Chloe in another, and then circling back mellifluously to make a quotidian day on the Princeton University campus seem magical ... an intimate and powerful tribute that Toni Morrison deserves.
RaveUSA TodayYanagihara\'s unparalleled storytelling skills shine ... To Paradise is a novel of the highest order. Yanagihara writes with elegance, evoking emotion and rendering believable characters who move the plot. Her perceptive eye is evident in the three separate settings, placing the reader in each time frame through multiple narratives, which she orchestrates with great acuity. Themes of love and belonging reign in Book I and Book II. In Book III, fear trumps love for a mimesis of reality, hitting close to home for all of us right now.
RaveOn the SeawallIf you liked Shuggie Bain, you will adore Bright Burning Things for many reasons, specifically for the trenchant portrayal of alcoholism and the havoc it can wreak ... Harding’s familiarity with a rehab facility and the detoxification process is poignantly evident through her spare, candid language from the moment Sonya passed through the rehab’s gates ... Harding’s depiction of an alcoholic’s path to recovery is exceptional in its psychological acuity. She depicts Sonya struggling desperately with sorrow and addiction for much of the novel, drawing the reader into a vortex of helplessness. I was particularly struck by the moving scenes of an alcoholic’s physical and mental pain inside a long-term detox center, illuminating just how tough it is for an alcoholic to change their behavior.
RaveOn the Seawall... 22 short, potent stories ... they force the reader to constantly question what is real and what is imagined. Evenson accomplishes this feat by lulling the reader into a fugue-like state with his otherworldly imaginative prose, and like his predecessors Ballard and Poe, his unparalleled talent allows the reader to empathize with all characters — real and imaginary ... proves, once again, that Brian Evenson is a master of short fiction.
Zülfü Livaneli, tr. Brendan Freely
PositiveOn the SeawallLivaneli’s poetic book evokes emotion and illustrates just how much love and compassion one person can possess, and that love can be infectious and unconditional.
Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, tr. Alexia Trigo
RaveOn the SeawallIn this unforgettable novel, Sarr—through the meticulous translation of Alexia Trigo—creates the Brotherhood, a radical organization led by the unforgiving police chief Abdel Karim ... The book opens with the public execution of two young lovers who committed adultery. Sarr masterfully limns the grim scene ... [a] cat and mouse game propels the plot to warp speed ... Sarr rewards the reader with a powerful dénouement ... Sarr...display[s] uncanny abilities to transport the reader into the lives of oppressed groups...showing just how unfair and cruel life has been for some of them.
RaveBrooklyn RailFirst-time author Nawaaz Ahmed writes the way an impressionist paints. He ensures the scenes unfold before the reader’s eyes ... A bold, sweeping book ... Ahmed’s prose is imaginative and poetic, bringing readers into a week in the life of the Hussein women ... Ahmed accomplishes a rare feat ... Let us hope Ahmed is working on his next book because he is a rare talent, and the memorable ending of Radiant Fugitives is proof of his gift.
RaveLos Angeles Review of BooksSpecktor writes honestly and cogently about each artist’s life as he weaves in his own foibles and experiences as an artist, father, son, and friend ... Specktor masterfully orients the reader within the West Hollywood landscape ... The only flaw in Always Crashing is that, at times, the author’s flashbacks distract the reader from the organic flow of the prose, necessitating a reread. However, Specktor accomplishes what he set out to do: to provide an intimate study of nine artists of diverse talent who had an impact on him.
Nona Fernández, tr. Natasha Wimmer
RaveOn the SeawallFernández employs pop culture references to drive the narrative and place the reader in that era ... Fernández masterfully reprises the role of Estrella from Space Invaders ... For all the painful memories of the Los Desaparecidos, The Twilight Zone will remind readers of Lawrence Thornton’s Imagining Argentina. And Fernández’s nimble movement of the narrative and characters in and out of the decades of a despotic leaderships may remind readers of Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao ... [Fernández] write[s] distinctly...to highlight Latin American culture, which will remind us of...Cortázar, Garcia Márquez, and Bolaño. Like those of fellow Chilean writer Alejandro Zambra and fellow Argentinian author César Aira, Fernández’s...inimitable talents are paving the way for a new movement, one that Roberto Bolaño would endorse.
RaveThe MillionsFirst-time Ottessa Moshfegh readers will marvel at her ability to write such a saturnine story in such a droll manner. Her witty lines entertain throughout ... Moshfegh’s flawless depiction of life lost in a continuous drug haze continues to shock throughout the book ... Moshfegh takes the reader down a rabbit hole of confusion for a year, leaving the reader to ponder: What is the true meaning of life? ... ribald passages, unapologetic dialogue, and a plot structure only she can devise. Moshfegh is not afraid of anything, and My Year of Rest and Relaxation is one of the year’s best books.