The eleven stories in Good Trouble read like a string of understated poems that progress, implode, and digress. They are compelling not only because of Joseph O’Neill’s memorable characters but also because of his density and diction. He wields an acerbic blade, rendering the weird and violent with a determined frugality and control ... O’Neill resorts to the landscape with the abandon and felicity of a poet ... Generally, however, O’Neill is very much jostling the real world. His voice is funny and fierce, his concerns unforgivingly political and contemporary ... Good Trouble is an essential book, full of unexpected bursts of meaning and beauty.
...beautifully crafted short stories ... Here, as in his novels, he dissects the granular details of contemporary social mores while global issues flicker in and out of focus ... O’Neill’s tales often echo [David Foster] Wallace’s mixture of humor and profundity, demonstrating a similar, almost preternatural eye for the absurdities of contemporary life.
The characters are subtly crafted, nuanced in their observations of others, and understated ... Mr. O’Neill’s ability to tell stories that allow his reader to see how 'good' trouble can be through his characters’ eyes is the real art in his craft.