...an exploration of the uncanny [is] one of its many splendors ... The novel swerves away from realism, and the attendant philosophical underpinnings of that move make this novel satisfyingly multilayered. The surreal elements dramatize more pressing preoccupations, and Dermansky’s often deadpan delivery strikes a fine balance with the story’s more emotionally loaded content ... On both sex and marriage, Dermansky is painfully astute, and funny, too ... There’s a particular intellectual and emotional gratification to be found in this smart novel that so wonderfully blurs boundaries of reality, of past and present, of time and space. The Red Car is a remarkable book.
You should read The Red Car because you will love it ... it’s Dermansky’s delivery that makes this short novel perfectly delectable ... Dermansky cracks her character open and lets the runny yolk of Leah’s life spill over the pages. The results are highly entertaining ... Leah is funny and insightful and a mess and fantastic. You’ll want this story to seep inside your skin. One reading of The Red Car should do, but the relationship could be more permanent.
...[a] sharp and fiery novel ... The novel’s furious action keeps the pages snapping by, but each incident, at times each sentence, is bubbling with equally furious ideas ... Is Leah fiercely self-actualizing in a world hostile to female desire and ambition, or should she just maybe stop drinking tequila in the daytime? Dermansky, wisely, leaves the contemplation to the reader, because Leah is forever in each tense and needy moment.
If this secondary storyline seems like a strange fit with the first, it is—despite such refreshingly transgressive themes, the two don’t always cohere ... her unknowability runs frustratingly deep for a character whose brain we spend so much time in ... The Red Car therefore reads more like an aimless joyride than a trip with an itinerary—all great fun, but no clear destination.
[Judy's voice] creates a particularly unresolvable sort of grief, a plaintive and genuine emotional note running through the dreamlike narrative ... This seemingly artless but in fact very controlled novel is on one level, a fairy tale complete with fairy godmother, and on another, a whispered goad to the reader: Live the life you really want.