... bright, perspicacious, and elegant ... Most notable for its sterling point-of-view and the literary ancestry it invokes, White on White primarily, although not exclusively, trails along these technical lines, namely in its clear evolution from Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy ... a discursive, intimate first-person narrator to, via dropping authorial flags and bleeding syntax and diction into each other, thrust a secondary character into immediacy with the reader. When done properly, as it frequently is in White on White, this method is a subtle and effective one ... hile Savaş perhaps does not possess the same electric prose, razor-sharp precision, or mechanically flawless use of, as this reviewer has termed it, first-person free-indirect (something that can be said of all Cusk’s contemporaries), she is nonetheless a more than legitimate literary descendant and engaging practitioner of the craft ... Propelled by a rich voice and sharp eye, and ultimately offering an insightful study of the decay wrought by time on relationships and identity, White on White stands as both a well-defined and well-executed work in its own right and a prime example of the evolutionary process of the novel as an art form, the employment of an extant technical-mechanical route to reach a new and enlightening destination.
Savaş’ prose is unobtrusive in a way that lets these ideas surface without announcing them; it’s a brisk book that moves patiently ... Savaş, impressively, has at once deposited her readers in the literary equivalent of a clean room — the prose is unaffected, straightforward, easily graceful — and dumped us into a fog ... Much of the power of White on White comes from Savas’ excellent command of the slowly darkening mood, the way she titrates details about Agnes’ demanding, sometimes cruel character and the narrator’s naivete, about how each reveals something about the other. The ending is delivered as a kind of shock, but it is clear how every detail in the novel was calibrated to lead up to it.
... the entire world of White on White is selectively outlined. What of it exists exists in crisp, clean prose ... the line between Agnes’s monologues, as reported by the narrator, and the narrator’s own speech and thoughts grows increasingly thin. Over time, the narrator is drawn into Agnes’s mental world, in all of its turmoil, yet, with a strange coolness, resists providing the compassion and reassurance Agnes seems to so desperately seek. The results of this thwarted intimacy move the story inexorably toward a finale that, for a book so invested in visual art, feels surprisingly most like an act of literary revenge.