... the fluidity of Kisner’s essays in her debut book, Thin Places, is arguably the most striking thing about this collection. Kisner seems to effortlessly move from research to personal memoir to social commentary—often within a single essay. The topics in Thin Places are wide-ranging, but it’s also as if each essay is stretching its fingers into the next, so there’s a nice congruity throughout the book ... No matter the topic, Kisner’s writing is unflinching, written with a curious and open mind and heart. She’s like a physician, taking the pulse of society, and sharing the results matter-of-factly, without judgment. This debut collection marks Kisner as a voice to listen to.
... fiercely intelligent and consistently edifying ... This idea of duality or 'in-betweenness' is a fascinating and culturally salient concept — and one that ripples through every piece in the book ... What makes this collection so compulsively readable is Kisner’s ability to wield her contagious curiosity and nose for objective reporting to investigate everything from a once bustling, now mostly abandoned lakeside oasis in Southern California, to Ann Hamilton’s magical and enveloping multimedia installation at New York’s Park Avenue Armory in 2012, to evangelical robocalls. But she also looks inward. Her efforts to unpack her relationship with her mother, her Mexican American heritage and her queer identity are some of the most earnest and impactful passages in the book ... remarkably polished and demonstrably articulate ... Kisner is one of the most perceptive, open-minded and capable literary tour guides I’ve encountered in quite some time, and I’m already looking forward to her next (ad)venture.
[The] 'in between state' is the common denominator of this collection, the theme on which the 13 essays are a variation. Certainty, the book suggests, is an illusion. Real life exists in the gaps ... In a new-New-Journalist amalgam of reportage and memoir, Kisner tethers — more elegantly in some pieces than in others — her sociological dispatches to the realm of personal experience: her on-again-off-again relationship with God, her O.C.D., her mixed ethnicity and sexuality. Reading the book, one might picture a series of oppositions — religious/secular, straight/gay, native/foreign, self/other, even living/dead — with Kisner’s focus always on the slash ... Kisner displays an impressive range of narrative modes in this book, bouncing nimbly between gravity...and comic relief, which she peppers in just when our heads are starting to spin. If she sometimes gets lost down rhetorical rabbit holes, at least she makes you want to go with her, pulling the reader along on her journey to excavate the intimate from the observed.