... a transportive, joyous read ... Shopsin, who is also an illustrator, graphic designer, and memoirist, is an acutely observant writer. She’s collected an extensive history of TekServe, from the elaborate spreads at weekly staff breakfasts to the custom intake system that warns technicians about difficult customers ... Shopsin’s narration is sharp and incisive, snarky yet kind ... By far the most interesting characters are the anthropomorphized machine parts, which form a kind of impassioned Greek chorus throughout the novel. These critical components within broken machines have emotions and sex lives, ponder the meanings of existence, and are among the most enjoyable elements in the novel. It’s like watching the Jurassic Park movies, when, by the end credits, you’re rooting for the dinosaurs.
Shopsin, wary of making her novel read like an engineering manual, even with the riveting drama of industrial design hitches, takes a creative approach, anthropomorphizing the machine’s innards in reaction to an invasive repair ... Shopsin...is clearly on comfortable ground, ambling through Claire’s existential quest in short sentences and choppy paragraphs, which create a tense rhythm, even when describing the activity around the office fish tank ... side trips down geek memory lane will delight many an elder-nerd pining for the days when Apple was still a feisty little outlier punching up in a Windows PC world, and not the $2 trillion Big Tech Bigfoot it is today. Readers wanting a more linear narrative (or those never indoctrinated into the Cult of Mac) may get fidgety with the diversions, even as context for Claire’s story ... Shopsin has a gift for capturing the minute details of a specific era in ever-evolving New York City ... It’s a crisp redraw of a time when Apple Computer was the rebellious choice, poor rebels could afford to live in the Big Apple and—in more ways than one—people found themselves offline.
... a work of love and beauty, with quirks and twists ... The book will cause aching nostalgia for readers of the right generation ... For a younger crowd, the story is compelling, and the details will read quaintly historically in a way that, when I think about it, turns my bones to dust, and I blow away ... Shopsin’s LaserWriter II captures an extended moment under amber (or perhaps under beige) and brought old memories back to the fore for me, and a few streaks of toner down my cheeks.
... it's enthralling. LaserWriter II is funny and gentle and sweet ... A bit of a misfit and a loner, Claire wanders in, finds a home, finds her calling and eventually wanders away. That's the story, and it's all this charming book needs.
... [an] unusual and oddly moving debut novel ... to our surprise, Shopsin's brief accounts of the never-ending stream of broken machines read like fascinating medical case histories. Among the few that Tekserve refuses to service is a computer infested with cockroaches ... Shopsin's novel is a pared down affair with lots of white space on half-filled pages. We come to know Claire through sparse, carefully chosen details ... Claire gets so deep into her work that she imagines conversations between printer parts—tiny spring and gray roller, hook and gear. These back-and-forths struck me as tedious, but they do reveal that Claire has more moving parts than her agile fingers. And you have to laugh when an octagonal mirror quotes Sontag ... a charming elegy to a less disposable culture and an enchanted workplace predicated on caring for machines and people. But Shopsin's novel also encompasses a darker corporate fairytale about a giant, fantastically innovative company that makes irresistible products but eventually squashes smaller, auxiliary businesses like Tekserve.
Claire...invents funny, philosophical conversations among the mechanical pieces she repairs, and notices the planned obsolescence of newer products. Claire’s stint at Tekserve (where Shopsin herself once worked and the history of which she conjures faithfully in this work of fiction) sometime in the nineties makes for a charming, perceptive, refreshingly original coming-of-age story, accompanied by Shopsin’s digital illustrations.
Illustrated with Shopsin’s whimsical chapter icons and punctuated with animated—and admittedly silly—conversations between parts of computers and printers, the novel bounces through the history of digital technology, the fey atmosphere of geekdom, and Claire’s shrewd, serene observations. Fresh and charmingly quirky.
... unconventional and captivating ... Shopsin cleverly evokes the era with a mix of historical and fictionalized references ... This singular project brilliantly captures the spirit of individuality, innovation, and change.