...[a] powerful, gorgeous new novel ... The question of what is real and what isn’t, and if such distinctions even can be made, is at the heart of Mourning ... the questions raised in the novel—such as the veracity of a tragic family tale that our narrator vividly remembers hearing as a boy and that no one in his family can later recall—make us ponder the fact that so much of who we are and what we believe is the product of story, coincidence, and even misunderstanding ... Halfon gives an unforgettable, haunting voice to lesser-known populations of the Jewish diaspora ... evocative images and lyrical musings.
...memorializing, globe-trekking tales ... Halfon reveals the mystery in precise, beautiful language that never confuses even when paragraphs span decades. What the reader is given is an unforgettable exploration of one family’s fluid, collective memory.
Halfon writes in recalling how worlds opened to him when he first learned English. With his slender but deceptively weighty books, which are at once breezy and melancholic, bemused and bitter, he opens up worlds to readers in return ... a kind of postmodern memorial to his grandfathers, who outlived the horrors of the Holocaust but not its searing emotional aftereffects.