Enthralling ... Nothing in this genre-melding book is as it seems ... The combination of LaValle’s agile prose, the velocity of the narrative and the pleasure of upended expectations makes this book almost impossible to put down ... LaValle’s Lone Women deftly weaves history, horror, suspense and the perspectives of those rarely recorded in the West.
Infused with creeping dread and chilling horror. But there's more to this book than just that — it's an excellent novel that blurs genres and looks at early-20th-century America from a perspective that's been ignored for far too long ... LaValle is a master at building suspense and creating a tense atmosphere that makes it difficult to stop reading. This novel ends with a welcome left turn, one that's unpredictable, but fully earned, a fitting conclusion to a book that's filled with twists ... As much as Lone Women is a horror novel, it's also a western, and LaValle's take on the genre is refreshing. He centers the book around women and people of color — it's a welcome antidote to the westerns of the past, where the heroes were always white men, and anyone who wasn't one was either a villain or a supporting character ... A wonderful novel.
He adroitly intertwines the eerie fairy tale with early 20th-century historical realism ... LaValle subtly links Lone Women to an African American literary storyline envisioning a woman who unshackles herself from a societal yoke long weighed upon her. By replanting this narrative with small-town Southern roots into a Western self-reliance tale, while mixing in the deranged, the author has fashioned an eccentrically satisfying literary mash-up.
Mesmerizing ... A master of the speculative mode, LaValle opens Lone Women with carnage ... Lone Women shifts from the grandiosity of LaValle's The Changeling...to a prose spare and vast, prairie-like, yet steeped in menace ... He brings the creepiness to a boil in a few beautifully crafted scenes ... LaValle expands his repertoire as an audacious, thrilling stylist.
One of the many beautiful aspects of Lone Women is that it can be read as a metaphor for choosing how we each decide to live with what haunts us. You can carry it as a burden, and try to isolate yourself in the narrative of making a new life. Or you can share the load with others who, whether you know it or not, already share the shame with you. In Lone Women, it turns out that facing your shame, letting others see you and your loved ones fully, offers a kind of freedom and surrender. Being willing to fight for a life that can withstand the light of truth allows Adelaide and so many others to build a future far less complicated than the past.
A conclusion that may derive less from the historical record of lone women in the West than from LaValle’s own gothic sensibilities and his imagined histories of those whose stories were rarely recorded. Whether you find that satisfying or disappointing may depend on what baggage you carry and the consequences you imagine in having it torn open for the world to see. Lone Women is not the kind of novel to leave you comfortable with either the silence or the spoken truths.
Told with a pulp sensibility, this masterfully paced tale, with short chapters, heart-pounding suspense, a monster that is both utterly terrifying and heartbreakingly beautiful, and a story line focused on the power of women, bursts off the page. Great for fans of thought-provoking horror that probes the inherent terror of marginalization without sacrificing the visceral action.
LaValle beautifully captures the vastness of the 1915 Montana frontier and the subtlety of terror in his latest ... A chilling tale of isolation, shame, regret, and survival, LaValle’s novel is incredibly immersive—readers will hear the wind of the prairie, smell the wood smoke, see the bloodstains, and feel the fear ... LaValle grips readers with the subtle terror of inevitability, only to hold tight with tenderness.
Some books make you stop, take notice and question: question the narratives we’ve been told about our history and the narratives we’ve told ourselves about ourselves. Victor LaValle’s latest novel, Lone Women, is one such book ... LaValle combines historical fiction with horror to create a tapestry of desolation, wonder, despair and hope ... A powerful study in setting and character with a healthy dose of horror, Lone Women will forever change the way you think about the Wild West.