"Imaginative, enraging, thought-provoking coming-of-age story from the point of view of Octavian, a slave raised under extraordinary circumstances in pre-Colonial Boston. It will make you reexamine our precious little national founding myths. "At long last, you may no longer distinguish what binds you from what is you.""
"I never would have picked up this bleak memoir of childhood cancer if it was written in prose--too much potential for the kind of overwrought depression that leaves me cold. But in images, it is arresting and beautiful. I couldn't stop turning the pages."
"My heart broke eight times while reading this collection of eight stories. This is gorgeous writing--blessedly subtle but assured. The indifferent animals in these stories embody last chances to the troubled men and women who encounter and are changed by them. Each story is beautifully crafted, and whole worlds hover like ghosts behind each character."
"Lovely illustrations, but the story is not well-crafted, instead more like adolescence itself: repetitive, angsty, melodramatic (what will he burn next?), with truths only half-grasped and metaphors and insights cliched."
"Stunning novella about a child, a father, a suicide, and the Alaskan wilderness. The stories provide interesting background and a conflicting version of events, but are otherwise ho-hum with pat metaphors and emotional distance."
"Intriguing short novel about a writer who helps a taxidermist with his remarkable play, featuring a howler monkey (Virgil) and a donkey (Beatrice). The play excerpts are extremely moving and worthwhile; the novel as a whole is uneven."
"Two damaged souls ("prime numbers") connect but never quite fuse as adolescents, and the idea of the other looms large in each of their lives after they part ways as adults. The ending works well, but the last third of the book lacks the hypnotic appeal of the first two-thirds."
"A sprawling, ambitious novel--by turns luminous and contrived--that charts the seemingly unlikely intersection of various everyday NYC lives on the day that Philippe Petit made his famous tightrope walk between the World Trade Center's two towers."