PositiveThe Seattle Times... [a] fine new novel ... While entertaining the reader with meandering plot and character entanglements, Towles develops a theme familiar from his earlier novels about inheritance ... Towles is creating a nuanced, comic vision of America.
RaveSeattle TimesReaders of Ozeki’s work...will recognize her Zen-inspired apprehension of the world and playful storytelling style ... In giving the Book a point of view, Ozeki creates a loquacious, animated voice with ideas about other books, the past, the need for human stories and the mutual needs of humans and books ... With this well-developed voice, Ozeki plays humorously with ideas about what a novel is — about the development of a story, how it gets told, who tells it, who hears it and how books affect people ... Ozeki...takes up big ideas about this moment on our planet, but also offers close descriptions of memorable images that make the prose absorbing ...These images reverberate long after the reading, speaking to Ozeki’s broad and benign vision of connected beings.
Janice P. Nimura
RaveThe Seattle TimesNimura, an independent historian, knows how to tell this kind of story ... Nimura draws from the many letters the Blackwells wrote, contemporaneous news articles about them, and the histories of the institutions that interacted with them — either educating them or refusing to do so — to bring their story to life ... Nimura seamlessly weaves these strands of medical and American history by focusing on the lives of these two self-made women. With an eye to the telling detail, she animates their ambitions ... their story is one worth knowing.
PositiveThe Seattle TimesThe pendulum of storytelling from the present to the past creates a retrospective and also prospective view: We see the isolated, escaping, guilt-ridden Amy, endlessly chivying the details of when things went wrong; and then we see the young and hopeful Amy in her new marriage, with her life before her. The chasm between her older and younger selves is heart-wrenching, though she never loses her belief that a hopeful life beckons them all ... Lydia’s first-person voice casually reveals how she has been watching for most of her life, listening to how her parents drive into the driveway, waiting for the violence. It is no small feat for Kruse to handle memory and reflection in each of her characters’ lives in different ways ... Two scenes contain jarring remnants of draft writing ... But Kruse’s prose is vivid, precise and promising.
PositiveThe Seattle TimesA decade after publishing her last fiction, Ruth Ozeki emerges with a terrific new novel full of breakthroughs both personal and literary ...she revels in Tokyo teen culture — this goes far beyond Hello Kitty — and explores quantum physics, military applications of computer video games, Internet bullying and Marcel Proust as well, all while creating a vulnerable and unique voice for the 16-year-old girl at its center ... Nao’s dire and dramatic entries alternate with a third-person narrative of Ruth and Oliver’s more contemplative life on a stormy Northwest island... Ozeki has produced a dazzling and humorous work of literary origami: The narrative sections fold over on themselves in time and theme and wordplay.