... brilliant ... There is dark humor in Luchette's work...as well as insight ... This amusing glimpse of 'authority' underscores the humility with which Agatha views the world, as well as the limits placed upon her. When she reveals her given name, Isabelle, to the reader, her identity begins to stretch, to become individualized and complex ... Luchette develops every person so fully, so effectively, that even those who briefly cross the page are memorable ... Luchette's ease with drawing characters is echoed in their ability to create images that are both ordinary and miraculous ... stunning, haunting prose.
[A] subtle, resonant debut novel ... One of many feats of narrative restraint that Luchette uses expertly throughout the book: Mundane turning points, muted as prayer, subtly plant the seeds of Agatha’s quiet journey to apostasy ... The power and pleasure of this novel lie in the slow blooming of desire from tiny seeds of doubt.
I picked up Agatha of Little Neon for its unusual subject and I got pulled in by Agatha's voice. Sharp and, by turns, melancholy and wry ... What's especially striking about Luchette's novel is that it affirms the age-old writing workshop wisdom of 'show don't tell.' Despite the fact that our narrator, Agatha, lives a contemplative life, she doesn't devote a lot of space to ruminations. Instead, every short chapter here is structured as a precise vignette dramatizing different incidents in her and her fellow sisters' lives from the mundane to the harrowing ... You don't have to be Catholic to connect with Luchette's nuanced and vivid story of a lonely young woman yearning for community and also yearning for everything she's had to give up to be part of that community. The nuns don't fly or sing or torment the helpless in Agatha of Little Neon, but they do make an indelible impression.