C. Max Magee (of The Millions)
Sam Jones (of Golden Rule Jones)
Our Girl in Chicago (of About Last Night)
If you only have time to read one of the three, the review that is the most detailed and dense is Our Girl In Chicago's. Her most thought-provoking paragraph, I think, is the following:
Aslam is great at unearthing rich psychologies like Kaukab’s in an emotionally potent way; he’s great at interiors. But that’s a bit misleading, since another distinction of his novel is the way it reflexively looks outward to see in: a great deal of what we know about the characters is divined through detailed representations of the world as they see it. The thickly descriptive style through which Aslam achieves this will, I imagine, prove overly rich for some readers. Seven metaphors and similes on the first page alone sounds alarming, doesn’t it? But—apart from the fact that many of them are stunning—metaphoric language is more than a vehicle here, and certainly more than just ornament. It’s close to being a provisional philosophy.
OGIC hints at a criticism made by some readers of Aslam that I've talked to -- his prose borders on preciosity -- while also offering him an 'out'. It's his intense interest in the interior life of his characters, she implies, that explains the high metaphorical density: there's a consistency there to be ascertained.
Or at least that's what it looks like from here. I'm a little embarrassed that I've had this book on the shelf since mid-summer, and still haven't read it. Well, I've got a conference in Chicago coming up next week, so maybe I'll get started on it while waiting in airports/on the plane.
(Incidentally, if any readers in Chicago are free that weekend and want to meet up for coffee/tea, drop me an email.)