PositiveThe Brooklyn RailIn Bohumil Hrabal’s memoir All My Cats, the limits—of empathy, of understanding, of life and death—are distended ... Throughout his memoir, Hrabal attempts to chart and to pilot the intense disgust he feels not just for himself, but for a life that has, in his eyes, necessitated an outcome of violence ... Hrabal’s memoir succeeds—with frightening lucidity—in its capacity to narrow the gap that separates his experiences from our own. Cats sustain and haunt Hrabal. By imagining what the lives of his cats would be like without him—What is it like for Hrabal’s cats to be Hrabal’s cats without Hrabal?—he is coerced to go on: the threat of a miserable fate for his felines persuades him to keep living. Yes, Hrabal murders his cats. And he also lives for the life of them.
PositiveLos Angeles Review of BooksAs in Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (1963), in which Hannah Arendt covers the trial of the eponymous war criminal, the reader experiences evil as not out of the ordinary: wickedness, in Godfrey’s portrayal, is an accretion of unexceptional moments, a slow accumulation culminating in a decisive inhumanity ... a meticulous retelling of the murder from the viewpoints of those enmeshed in the event. Godfrey demonstrates her dexterity at toggling between perspectives and, in the process, exposes common anxieties—anxieties pertaining to social status, to beauty, and to the intersection thereof ... Godfrey, like the police divers who search for Virk’s body, achieves a feat of negative buoyancy. Through her telling, we go beneath the surface of the story—where, like the divers, we glimpse a kind of psychic \'detritus of suburbia\' ... Under the Bridge is mainly an impersonal documentary of a murder—albeit one where the camera has access to the innermost features of its subjects, where we are observing what we can’t see without the special powers of Godfrey’s lens.