... a warm, hopeful novel ... If this all sounds like a bit much, that’s because it is. But Edwards holds readers’ attention with his attention to language and his skill at quick, yet rich, characterization. As the plot rips along, Edwards plays the characters straight, rather than for laughs, and in the process, he presents characters who are often able to overcome their pain or mistrust of others and do the right thing. Ramadan and the people around him respond to the dire situations they face as overwhelmed people often do: by doing the best they can ... Even with so much plot happening, Edwards is adept at callbacks and uses the earlier settings and plot points to arrive at greater meaning ... As basic as some of these mantras are, they bring comfort to Ramadan and potentially the reader, who may be reminded of the clarifying power of a simple idea ... worth the wait ... Edwards has written an ebullient, picaresque novel. Despite the darkness Ramadan encounters, he focuses on the few friendly people who support him. He decides at the relevant points to lean into positivity rather than negativity — and not only overcomes the adversity of his narrative, but transcends it.
... a rollicking and exhilarating novel ... The characters in this novel, no matter how large or small, are filled with such detail that they seem to magically hum with life. Likewise, Edwards has a knack for transforming the mundane into the holy ... For sure, Edwards stretches the limits of believability ... Additionally, this book, like its 18th-century predecessors, requires readers' patience as the author digs deep into his characters' interior lives and epiphanies, along with the occasional flight of metaphysical fancy. Nevertheless, Edwards writes confidently and with gusto. Following him and this irresistible story of a boy's quest for family and identity is—to paraphrase the titular character—so easy!
... delightful and intimate ... Edwards harnesses the best of his storytelling powers ... Borrowing from the episodic structure of epic tales, the novel sustains a swift pace that only picks up momentum as it advances. The narrative voice is highly engaging, often combining humor and pathos in a single sentence so that even tragic events are imbued with lightness ... A novel that is as exhilarating as it is moving; a fine achievement.