The Cleveland Plain Dealer said of Music for Wartime: “As an adept of the particular and specific art of short stories, Makkai is indisputable, and she provides something that every writer should aspire to, beyond form and plot and setting and character and voice: Something, something that matters, to talk about.” Read the full review here.
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Music for Wartime received glowing starred reviews in both Publishers Weekly and Library Journal. From the former: “Though these stories alternate in time between WWII and the present day, they all are set, as described in the story “Exposition,” within “the borders of the human heart”—a terrain that their author maps uncommonly well.” From the latter: “Makkai is a musical writer with a strong voice, and this work is reminiscent of Elizabeth McCracken’s recent collection Thunderstruck, in tone if not in content. Themes of guilt, loss, survival, and memory infuse the entire book, which is rife with sentences that will stop you in your tracks with their strangeness and profundity.” Read the full reviews here and here.
The Boston Globe gave Music for Wartime a rave on the front page of the Arts section. From the review: “A striking blend of whimsy and poignancy, elegy and ebullience… While some stories are straightforwardly realistic and others wildly fantastical, all are witty, rueful, and wise.” Read the full review here.
I had this awesome dream where the New York Times Book Review said some really nice stuff about my novel, and nobody’s bothered waking me up yet, so it’s all good. From the review: “Makkai guides her twisty, maximalist story with impressive command and a natural ear for satire. Equal parts screwball comedy, intellectual sex farce, historical drama and old-fashioned ghost story, “The Hundred-Year House” sometimes feels like the precocious love child of John Irving’s “The Hotel New Hampshire” and a rousing game of Clue.” Read more here. Please don’t pinch me.
“Makkai’s book holds all of the elements of the perfect summer yarn: eccentric artists, a mysterious death, a locked attic door and a large estate that has secrets built into its walls… Think David Lodge meets Maggie Shipstead as Makkai’s suspenseful scene building and comic timing make “The Hundred-Year House” a captivating read.” Full review here.
“Makkai’s second novel defies genre – part literary mystery, part comedy of manners, part wickedly funny satire. Whichever way you look at it, it’s remarkable.”
“At times both hilarious and heartbreaking, Makkai creates eccentric characters the reader can’t give up on, even at their very lowest, least likeable points. Makkai’s witty and engrossing writing style belies the nearly Dickensian way she layers characters over time, revealing hidden identities and unknown connections. It is also a very frank story of the lives of working artists and writers: the trade-offs, the losses, the liberation and the need for both community and isolation.
From the opening line to the last, The Hundred-Year House is utterly absorbing. Deceptively light and fast-paced, the story will stay with the reader long after the satisfying conclusion.”
“It’s a wonderful novel, as beautifully written as it is painstakingly plotted, with the structure to please any literary critic, and a story absorbing enough to satisfy the most ravenous reader… Rare indeed is the novel that combines beautiful prose with ideas as robust as those on display in The Hundred-Year House — not to mention a story like a set of Penrose stairs, connected in the most playful, the most surprising of ways.” Full review here.