Across these eight moving and surreal stories, Russell crystallizes with her deft, evocative, and unfailingly empathetic imagination the allure of escape, the grief and redemption of love, and the ever-present possibility of self-transformation and rebirth.
No writer I know of exhudes so much compassion and empathy for his characters as Dubus. With his rich, winding, and hypnotic prose, he fashions stories tall and mighty as towers, each one housing profound beauty and pain and redemption. An American master.
In The Visiting Privilege, suggestions of Joy Williams' dark and elegant wit emerge as early as the table of contents: with titles like "Taking Care," "Hammer," and "White," we find ourselves immediately in the presence of a writer who does not mince words—one, in fact, who selects each and every word with impeccable care and calibration, all in service to spellbinding, pitch-perfect stories whose strangeness will haunt you for its familiarity.
Dusky, harrowing, cool as hell. Berlin's characters smoke and drink and cheat, they abandon loved ones and hang tight to their abusers. And you, their witness: you care for them, you ache for them, you sit by their addled sides and let them sleep on your shoulder.
In the titular story, a bloodthirsty viking rips the lungs out of a peasant and performs a blood eagle—what he and his brothers-in-arms understand as a comic ritual. And this, believe it or not, happens in one of the most profoundly tender and moving stories in the entire collection—one that brims not only with hilarity and mad-genius imagery, but also compassion, sweetness, and ache. Only a supreme talent like Towers could pull something like that off.
Dazzling, magical, many-layered stories told by a masterful and exciting talent. Helen Oyeyemi braids folklore, fairytale, surrealism, and the modern world together into such tight and seemingly unsolvable knots, only to snap her fingers and leave the rope unraveled in your hands, mystified and amazed.