Ten years earlier, our young narrator and a boy named Thomas James fall into bed with one another over the summer of their graduation. Their ensuing affair, with its violent, animal intensity and its intoxicating and toxic power plays initiates a dance of repulsion and attraction that will cross years, span continents, drag in countless victims-and culminate in terrible betrayal.
Both haunting and hilarious, and crystallizes Joseph as a literary artist of the highest caliber ... [An] extemely eloquent narrator ... At Certain Points We Touch ruminates on themes of love, loss and queerness with such a mature sense of craft that one can almost hear the scratch of a calligrapher's stylus as they painstakingly etch this elegy to a dead lover ... Gracefully merging past and present, comedy and pathos, high and low art, Lauren John Joseph has produced a masterpiece. At Certain Points We Touch displays brilliance at every single touchpoint
Joseph honors the stylistic legacy of Kathy Acker, and the Beats before, in a delicious stream of consciousness. The book celebrates the freedom and nonconformity of the narrator’s youth, and the enormous capacity for love and tragedy that such a life can hold. This raucous and dazzling debut showcases a bright new voice in fiction.
Joseph’s middling debut about memory and toxic relationships shows flashes of brilliance, but ends up feeling overwrought and overlong ... The author certainly has chops, as evidenced by the narrator’s sharp musings on the futility of existence...but the plot meanders and drags to the point of incoherence. This one needs a sharper focus to give its inspired moments their due.