... entrancing ... nine rich and stylistically diverse stories. These characters are all strivers, toilers, and dreamers who never quite grasp the brass ring, never become successful or find the happiness they crave ... Lloyd dexterously dictates the pace of her storytelling by varying her sentence lengths, deploying fragments, allowing run-ons, and even enforcing a kind of enjambment with her punctuation ... At other times, Lloyd unspools clause after clause, allowing her sentences to cascade down the page, pulling the reader along. And she has a knack for indelible phrasing ... The shift in tone...across the volume as a whole, is remarkably broad, revealing what may be Lloyd’s most valuable gift: an ability to travel seamlessly wherever she wishes, her agile eye confidently guiding her characters—and her readers—as they chase the almost tangible hope that something wonderful lies ahead.
Lloyd’s debut presents nine gently told stories that focus on just a few understated moments and yet span generations, managing the sweep of a wide angle and expansive lens ... fraught moments of complex emotion—sometimes mundane, sometimes muted—are a refrain throughout the book ... losses, often insignificant and ungrand, are the tender heart of this collection—the spaces Lloyd’s characters pass through blithely, considering them only in hindsight, long after the fact. The Something Wonderful, then, is the thing at once vague enough to be indefinable, and yet still meaningful enough for the characters to notice when it’s gone.
Discovering a new writer is always a pleasure, but when it’s one whose work is as fresh as Jo Lloyd’s, it’s especially delightful ... her debut collection, Something Wonderful, should expose her work to a wider audience. Whether she’s writing about contemporary London or a bygone era, her efficient characterization, economical, evocative prose, and overall command of her material are hallmarks of her work ... Reminiscent of some of the work of authors like Jim Shepard and Karen Russell, but wholly her own, Jo Lloyd’s Something Wonderful marks the appearance of a talented writer. Surprises abound in every one of these stories and suggest that even more impressive art lies in her future.