This story is not a mystery as we all expect, but a mystery of how people react to one another. Silver’s approach to these characters is dynamic not in the relationship between the families as much as the relationships within the families ... While the story is thin of plot, the underlying theme of the story—how tragedy affects each of us—rises to the top to be considered in its entirety ... Silver’s writing is strong—probably her strongest skill. Her vocabulary is varied and robust; she chooses words carefully, designed to color the settings, the characters, and, yes, the plot ... character driven, and the reader will get wrapped up in each character’s purpose and the story’s theme. A definite keeper.
... a perceptive novel about female friendship ... The danger of fictionalizing a child’s voice is that it can come off as contrivance. But the language Silver uses for Miggy and Ellen resists that trap; each girl’s chapters are written with a keen ear for the voices of children, filtered through the syntactic elegance that marks the entire book. In this way, language becomes character; Miggy and Ellen, as well as their parents, are embodied as much by what they think as by what happens to them ... The Mysteries reveals that adulthood comes at the cost of a belief in dreams, satisfaction, or even an imagined future.
The existential crises of the times—war, Watergate, the civil rights movement—take a back seat in Silver’s newest novel, behind the more immediate challenges of parenting and providing, caring for others versus caring for oneself ... Silver’s luminous exploration of foundational relationships catastrophically altered by a gut-wrenching accident reveals the poignancy and vulnerability that underlie so many human contracts. Whether writing in the precociously gleeful voices of two guileless children or the increasingly jaded tones of damaged adults, Silver achieves a powerful and gripping authenticity that captures the confusion and, yes, the mystery of both innocence and maturity.