We learn a lot about E in Participation’s spare 191 pages, many of which are marked by white space ... Outside of this central consciousness, though, the novel is mostly schematic. Characters, scenarios, and settings are lightly sketched, corresponding to types if they correspond to anything at all ... [The novel] is studded with direct, often apologetic, address to the reader ... Participation makes use of a host of literary devices not typically associated with fiction: lists, citation, erasure, enjambment, to name a few. Characters suddenly and permanently drop out of view, only for their disappearance to be regretfully noted by the narrator ... Moschovakis uses them nimbly ... This is, ultimately, the kind of book that’s more pleasurable to think about than actually read. But then, isn’t that the point?
An uncanny mirror for our current moment, Participation takes us into uncharted waters ... There is not what we might call a true 'scene' in Participation for thirty pages or so. The reader must situate themself with little support from the author ... At the same time, Participation is full of 'translators, interpreters, mediators, therapists, negotiators'— pathfinders, in other words. The reader is in good company ... The text becomes more fluid and open to interpretation, the reader must take a leap of faith in favour of something inventive, collaborative, imperfect and new ... This is Moschovakis’ magic trick: by withholding cohesion, the reader must work to meet her in the middle (must, in other words, participate) ... Experimental, brilliant, and deeply moving, Participation offers an anti-guide for the current moment: not teaching us how to live, but inviting us to try.
A brilliant and prescient story ... Often, E breaks the fourth wall, anticipating and toying with the reader’s expectations ... Throughout, Moschovakis brings her fierce intelligence to bear in the structurally surprising and impeccably executed narrative. This is formal innovation at its finest.
Theory-driven, opaque, and formally experimental, the book risks abstraction that can be alienating, allowing its characters to exposit their thoughts on their lives, surroundings, memories, and expectations rather than explore these ideas in-scene ... Timely, perhaps even prescient ... Densely intellectual, the novel forces an alert reader to reconsider what it means to participate in the very act of reading.