The strange and wonderful stories that make up Sachdeva’s debut begin on this side of reality and slip to the other—often so gracefully, and with such a precise rendering of the fantastical, that we become inadvertent believers ... The brilliance of these stories—beyond the cool, precise artistry of their prose—is their embrace of both the known and the unknown, in a combination that feels truly original.
The nine stories in Anjali Sachdeva’s debut collection All the Names They Used for God aren’t your typical narratives. Each one provides a haiku-esque glimpse into the infinite mind of an individual while revealing how the seeming trivialities of life can reverberate with meaning ... Her literary world is magnetic. The author has created perfect, complete micro-universes that lure the reader in to the dark depths of literature like siren song. And yet All the Names They Used for God shines in a way that leads characters and readers alike back out of the caves and frozen waters and into the warm, mysterious light.
Ms. Sachdeva’s book, a debut, is notable for its exuberant variety ... There’s an element of whimsy to this assortment, and sometimes Ms. Sachdeva is content with an easy laugh ... The range of her gifts is best seen in the title story, about two young women who are forced to become child brides to Islamists but gradually turn the tables on their captors through the practice of mind control ... The story’s delicate sadness mingles beautifully with the boldness of its conception.