Three new reviews of Necessary Errors: For Bookforum, Zeke Turner has written a thoughtful, generous review, calling the novel “a slow, beautiful look at the process of assembly, destruction, and revision specific to coming of age.” Mark Athitakis calls the novel “elegant and intellectually robust” in Newsday. And on her blog, a writer who goes by the moniker “Sassy Peach, Book Blogger,” writes:
Let me tell you about this novel. It is STUNNING. Capital S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. Like someone took a stun gun, pointed it at my side, and fired every time I set down to open this novel.
So you can’t say you haven’t been warned.
Three thoughtful new reviews of Necessary Errors have just been published. In the Kansas City Star, Christine Pivovar writes that
Crain does a fantastic job of immersing the reader in the setting, capturing both Prague’s physical details and its atmosphere. He handles the characters with equal depth and heart. They feel simultaneously realistic and storylike, which might be an effect of their being the sort of people who like to picture themselves as characters in a novel.
Meanwhile, in Open Letters Monthly, Y. Greyman reflects on the book’s themes in an almost philosophical register:
As Crain’s novel so wonderfully captures, there’s something to the experience of wandering, or aimlessness searching for an aim. In some ways, as Jacob finds in his frustrated efforts to write a story, “it was a story about not wanting to tell a story.” Necessary Errors is 480 pages, but it might have been half or twice that; it might have been any number. Since there’s little plot to be had, few ribbons to tie up, we, alongside Jacob, roam the city restlessly, exploring for the sake of exploring, going down side streets that may reveal meaningful, memorable moments or may, on the contrary, not lead anywhere. Those who have wandered will recognize how poignantly Crain distills the essence of that time.
And for Bloomberg, Hephzibah Anderson focuses on the novel’s fiscal analysis, including “the economics of ambition, love and idealism against the backdrop of a country on the cusp of wrenching fiscal and social change.” Writes Anderson, “As the novel unfolds, money becomes a versatile metaphor.”
I review Robert Wilson’s biography of Mathew Brady in the 4 August 2013 issue of the New York Times Book Review.
Norman Rush has reviewed my novel in the 15 August 2013 issue of the New York Review of Books.
In Harper’s Bazaar, Emily Cronin describes Necessary Errors as “a sparkling first novel by the literary critic Caleb Crain about youth, ambition, and self-invention in early-’90s Prague.”