This novel feels foreign and the writhing sentences suit this cynical, deeply disillusioned state-of-the-Belgian-nation rant. We may think we excel at national self-flagellation but Verhulst's sustained (and blackly funny) assault on the citizens of Brussels trumps all.
...sadly for me, Caraval the book very closely resembles Caraval the game: A beautiful setting for a hollow stone.
In “4321,” [Paul] Auster has created a symphony in four movements, one life that becomes four. It sprawls, yet manages to feel lean; despite its considerable length, it never once feels the least bit overwritten...Filled with beauty and ugliness, with love and fear, with humor and hubris and history, “4321” is unforgettable.
A little more clear-eyed realism might have redeemed this novel, but as it stands, it reads like the screenplay to some heartwarmingly twee movie with a ukulele soundtrack. It's a misstep by a writer who's capable of much better writing than this.
A richly enjoyable, densely textured and thought-provoking entertainment, Number 11 might not feature in many Kensington mansions, Swiss bolt-holes or private jets this winter. But perhaps it should.
At a moment when we are preoccupied with migration, it offers a sympathetic perspective on the difficulties of adjusting to life in a new place over two generations.
The shifting chronology also makes it difficult for readers to get their sea legs. Important information is doled out in pieces, out of reading order, and this is for a plot that’s confusing enough on its own. It doesn’t help that every character suffers from what we might call Lost syndrome...
“Homesick for Another World” is challenging, confrontational work. Each one of these stories shines with a cracked-mirror bleakness that slices the reader to the emotional quick. And all 14 of Moshfegh’s final lines leave us wrung-out and strained … and eager to tackle the next one.
Unfortunately, the latter parts of The Bear and the Nightingale shear away much of what I loved about its beginning and middle...These problems aside, The Bear and the Nightingale is a pleasure to spend time with. A rich and elegant debut...
“The Sleepwalker” is an engaging and eminently readable book. In the midst of its compelling mystery, Bohjalian introduces big questions about the nature of family, about heredity and sexuality and rationality. Its ever-quickening pace leads to fascinating reveals - and while you might see some of them coming, you won’t see them all.
Bozak does wind up falling into some clichés, however, as her descriptions of poor and particularly of fat people succumb to a fair bit of stereotyping...But ultimately, Thirteen Shells quietly captures each painful gasp of growing up: the anxiety and shame, along with the treasures found along the way.
The trick is to let the writing wash over you, rather than fighting it, and even to skip certain passages. Happily, readers will find themselves needing to do this less and less in the second half of the book, as the final nears and both authors get into their stride.
The Afterlife of Stars...has trouble escaping the past. When describing the novel’s time present...it’s lively and imaginative without forsaking a real sense of being in the historical moment. When the brothers start to interrogate their family’s past, or rummage through a trunk filled with memories and mementoes, the narrative seizes up.
The novel is far from perfect. The Butcher’s Hook is unevenly structured: what little plot there is in its first, frustratingly slow chapters is stretched too thin...For all that, however, this author remains one to watch.
Idaho is sad, but not despairingly so. Ruskovich’s prose is lyrical but keen, a poem that never gets lost in its own rhythm.
History of Wolves is as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set, and with her first book, Fridlund has already proven herself to be a singular talent.
YA fiction might look easy, but writing something sincere and entertaining is tougher than you think. And while “Freeks” has its flaws, it’s likely to find some resonance with its target teen readership.
It seems clear that Adiga is setting us up for a story in which one brother will rise and one will fall – but knowing this does nothing to detract from the enjoyment of the story.
There is a musical rhythm to the prose that draws the reader in from the first sentence and will keep everyone reading until the last.
A near miss for Dixie sends her on the run. The surprise closing twist promises romantic complications for Dixie in the next installment.