Inventory reads like a dam-burst, then, an overwhelming of Derry, of Northern Ireland, with memory, its coursing rivers, undercurrents, treacherous accumulations ... Anderson too has that...uncanny ability to draw image from object, to turn matter into a point of ingress into the past—so much so that you feel your own memory coming alive in tandem with his. His uncluttered, graceful prose transmits the tactile experience of his childhood while grounding it in historical context, in a way that makes the details of one’s existence seem at once specific and pointless ... Anderson evokes the feeling of eternal boyhood despite the carnage ... it’s as if he can’t take his eye off these memories, to the point that he sees afterimages, remembers them like 'a fluorescent baton, the swing of it leaving a momentary arc in the air and in my vision.'
... there were moments when I had to put down his book, so unsettlingly vivid were his descriptions of the casual acts of violence and petty humiliations that defined the time ... There is something almost hallucinatory, too, in the intensity of certain passages in Inventory that evoke his isolated wanderings through a claustrophobic city where, more than once, he is a target for casual violence from strangers ... remarkable ... a book of hard-won truths, a detailed map of a journey out of the labyrinth, the maze of memories, anecdotes, evasions and secrets that families construct in an attempt to protect themselves and those who come after them ... In often radical ways, this is a book about breaking that silence ... A book of revelations, then, both large and small, its truths reverberate in the imagination long after you finish reading it.
... Anderson's personal and generational memoir eschews a straightforward narrative for a freer form of nonfiction ... A poetic and brutal reflection on the ways the unspoken past haunts the present, the construction of histories from fragments and secrets, and the physical, mental, and emotional traumas that result when violence becomes part of the daily landscape.