... deconstructs intricate human preoccupations much to the same degree as recent voguer New York City fiction ... Mendelsund’s triumph this time around — one much more common in visual arts — is the active collaboration between his new novel’s subject and its physical form. This relationship between the way words are arranged on the page and their connotative meanings gives The Delivery’s economy an Odyssean intensity ... a narrative and typographic crescendo ... t’s the design of Mendelsund’s writing, rather than the content he writes about, that makes The Delivery a more felt experience of language acquisition than Wittgenstein’s rigorous dissection. The medium — which Mendelsund artfully transfigures like a cut key fashioned from a heavy blade and bow, or a microchip X-Actoed from a motherboard — is more vital than the message.
... often exquisite ... Mendelsund’s contained language takes flight ... Unfortunately, the novel picks up an annoying passenger: the narrator, who goes from unobtrusive chronicler to unruly guest at his own dinner party, sidetracking the reader with tales of his own unsettled adolescence and popping his head through the fourth wall to undercut his increasingly parenthesis-saddled account of the delivery boy’s adventures. The book — each section of which opens with an epigram from Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations — eventually bogs down in philological digression ... Despite the overreach, Mendelsund shines a piercing light on a bottom-rung existence. As delivery takes on a meaning closer to grace, you root hard for the deliverer.
Although this structure is confusing at first, you come to feel as though consciousness here is layered like cellophane: one reality on top of the other ... An exhilarating freedom emerges as the delivery boy bikes further and further afield, thoughts flitting across his mind. He is in sync with the music of the city and almost becomes that music itself. Ultimately, you find yourself in a kind of dreamscape ... Does it sound a little gimmicky? It’s not. It’s more like a symphony played by various instruments. Despite its surprisingly boring cover, The Delivery more than delivers. I was enthralled — perhaps transported is a better word — from the first page right through to the magical conclusion.