This season, the Bennington community has had their books reviewed in The New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker, Washington Post, NPR, among many other outlets. Note to readers: *BWSFM refers to Bennington Writing Seminars Faculty Member.
“…a slim volume that makes an outsized argument: that our times, or perhaps all times, call for imagining an entirely new way for humans to live together in the world—a world of what Butler calls “radical equality.”
“The story unfolds through the perspectives of five characters, all women, with overlapping and interweaving histories. Their voices sizzle and sparkle; each of them helps advance the plot, and each brings to it her own particular pain and her own particular tragedy.”
“…a mesmerizing reminder that this divide between Black and white is a false binary. On the premise of reconnecting her Northern identity to its Southern roots, Jerkins embarks on a journey that is anything but direct, or simple. Instead the story of her personal heritage, and its erasure within her own family, reveals the reductive power of the white gaze to flatten the complexities of Black lineage..”
“For Smith, this is a literary hook, a means of exploring large moral questions: How much do we owe to those we love? To ourselves? What does it mean to lead a good life? Can you do that without being religious? Her eloquent storytelling shows us glimpses of certain answers, sometimes serious but just as often comic.”
“[I]n ways large and small, ‘Nobody’s Child’ dismantles troubling legacies in our legal and mental health systems while also illuminating shortcomings in our approach to child protective services, foster care and incarceration — not to mention social ills like racism, poverty, gender and educational inequality.”
“The beauty of the novel is that the teams don’t particularly matter. You go from one to another, your career hurtles on, your exhaustion grows. The pace of the storytelling here is breakneck — an entire life wind-sprints past — an elegant time-lapse in which we see the flower bud, bloom, wither, die. A short move, let’s call it.”
“Milliken trusts us to keep up with her fast-paced tale, catching clues on the fly as we careen through the intricate story lines. But she’s at her best when she lingers, treating us to deft insights and gorgeous, sensual description, especially of the natural world and the esoteric practices of horse breeding and competitive riding.”
“[Marie Mutsuki Mockett] has the kind of deft touch with the English language that would make me read a book by her, no matter what it was about. . . . The Midwest has changed her. That, perhaps, is her greatest talent: the willingness to examine, even abandon, her own biases before she casts stones.”
“[I]t’s occasionally humorous to note the collision of opinions, such as when writer Clifford Thompson says he found ‘Peanuts’ to be ‘uproariously funny,’ while Glass says he doesn’t recall ever finding ‘Peanuts’ funny.”
“Read this beautifully unsettling novel and prepare to be ravished — and ravaged — as it winds its way inside your psyche, snake-like and persistent. . . . Blake Butler’s latest is a meditation on trauma and art, creation and destruction. . . . It’s a profound, exuberant disturbance, just what you want all art to be.”
Booklist’s Top Ten Historical Fiction of 2020, New York Post’s Best Books of the Week, Good Housekeeping‘s 20 Best Books of 2020 to Add to Your Reading List ASAP, Brit+Co’s 12 Books That Will Take You on a Literary Vacation, Travel & Leisure‘s 20 New Books to Gift This Mother’s Day, Parade‘s 30 Best Beach Reads of 2020.
“Proudly corporeal, fascinated by the workings of the physical form where our desires are housed as our tragedies are recorded… An homage to the body’s capacity to impart amazement even after death.”
– Wall Street Journal