"A startling picaresque unlike one might have read or imagined . . . [Carson's] real inventiveness is the oddly engaging, oddly distancing story told in fragments that don't want to end in a moral. . . . Essential reading for poetry sophisticates." --Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" (starred review)
""Red Doc>" is a clock that takes the measure of its readers and their world by entrancing them with anachronism and myth. . . .Carson explores questions like: can studying the past help us to understand the present or to prepare for the future? Do we need hindsight? Are the past and present continuous? Carson shows us that what stands between contemporary readers and the ancient world only appears to be substantial. Peering into the prose""'documents' that account for history from a safe distance, Carson suggests, we risk falling into [an] abyss, a volcanic past that promises to flow into the present and freeze itself over our shapes. Our mythic heroes suffer from PTSD. We're about to be covered up with ash, even though no one smokes anymore. "Red Doc>" manages to tell, along with Geryon's story, something of the toll the last 15 years have taken all of us, and the earth. The characters' grief for losses sustained in their anachronistic, mythic world becomes an elegy of losses in our own." --Emily Anderson, "Full Stop"
"Striking . . . Exhilarating . . . Carson has a reputation for difficulty, which is actually identical to her sense of playfulness. . . . Whimsy and obliquity dance hand in hand. . . . "Red Doc>" remains lucid and accessible, vernacular, friendly even, without sacrificing its iridescent, surrealist sheen. . . . Reading [it] is like being plunged under an iceberg: same world, same old friends, strange new light. . . . Carson bends time. She contracts universes . . . "Red Doc>" is a consummate love story, a book about friendship, companionship, motherhood, sex. It charts the failures of mutations of love, their imperfections, their infideshow more