The Mirror Thief is as difficult to explain as it is completely original. It's one of the most intricately plotted novels in recent years, and to call it imaginative seems like a massive understatement. The three stories are as different from each other as can be, and the fact that Seay weaves them together so skillfully is almost miraculous ... There's no doubt that Seay swings for the fences with his novel, and the scope of his ambition is endlessly impressive. The Mirror Thief is a startling, beautiful gem of a book that at times approaches a masterpiece.
The Mirror Thief is, it turns out, essentially a book about hermeneutics and disappointment. It’s a book about reading, specifically depth reading, to a point of inexplicable transcendence. What does one find in the depths? Nothing? Everything? A bit of both? The book — in the end long, frustrating and slow — becomes a mirror, perhaps inscribed, as are several mirrors in this text, with the words 'this is the face of god you see.' But what that actually means is anyone’s guess. Its main lesson, that 'the reader, not the poet, is the alchemist,' is a hard one to apply. Ten, nine, eight pages from the end, one still hopes, but this book does not contain any of the answers offered by The Secret History of the World. It doesn’t even supply the answers to most of its own questions. This is not The Da Vinci Code for intellectuals. It’s more like Howl translated into Latin and then back again. Over 600 pages. It’s amazing...How this book got published is a complete mystery to me. Not because it is not good enough, but rather because it is too good.
...[a] masterful and mysterious debut novel ... Seay splendidly evokes Venice and its two reflections: the dress, cuisine and intrigues of the merchant republic perched between West and East; the rhythms and desires of Beat-era beach life; and the blare and glare of the Strip during the run-up to the Iraq war. Mirrors are a leitmotif, naturally, but so are memory and its negation. 'Las Vegas is a machine for forgetting,' a character tells Curtis. So are mirrors, in a way, and Seay’s Las Vegas is a mirror for the world.