We tend to call fiction 'short' when it’s not a novel, but the six stories in Dance on Saturday are long, deep and rich, each so thoroughly engrossing and distinctive in its style that I had to take long breaks between them. The stories I enjoyed least...tend to favor accumulation and excess in a way that made me feel like the butt of an obscure joke, while the ones I loved (all the rest) favor depth of feeling and character, foreground care more than swagger. Rooted in contemporary cityscapes and mythic pasts, with affects ranging from melancholy optimism to humor to horror, this collection is a sensuous, polyphonic feast ... Karen Russell’s cover blurb praises Cotman as 'a synthesizer … of lewd dialect and high lyricism.' I’ll speak instead of Cotman’s high dialect and lewd lyricism, of how his fashioning of character voices is superbly disciplined, lit from within, while his lyricism is the realm of bawdy jokes and opacity, a kind of literary trolling. 'She was tall and wide like a sonnet,' one character notes — and you’ll just have to trust me on the contrast with the bawdy bits, none of which my editor will let me cite.
... Cotman's...use of familiar and well-described surroundings in his latest novella-collection grounds this gritty fiction with fantastical elements that play out in offbeat yet satisfying ways ... What’s even more interesting is how Cotman characterizes aging through the heavy presence of Lord Decay ... vernacular refrains Cotman employs go far in making the dialogue feel realistic and soothing in its authenticity ... While the novella form sometimes feels imperfect—too long or not long enough—Cotman wields a compelling literary voice packing both a wallop and a deft touch.
Cotman...wields biting wit, powerful emotion, and magic large and small throughout these six superlative stories ... Cotman utilizes genre conventions to examine racism, sexism, power imbalances, and hypocrisy ... The title story is the strongest, imagining a group of immortals with the ability to extend their lives by growing and consuming fruit, in prose that ranges from humorous...to lyrical ... Readers will be blown away by this standout tale, which grapples with the responsibility of holding power, and whether that power can, or should, be shared. Cotman’s bold and timely speculative fiction marks him as a writer to watch.