Rebecca Makkai is masterful, balancing forces near perfectly: the sweep of history pulling everyone into its vortex; and the human dramas that play out all the same, “the messes we make on our own.”
Colum McCann is probing memory and stretching the limits of the novel. And not just the memory of his protagonists, but the memory of the land itself. The result is transportive, sweeping but rooted in humanity.
The literal magic is front-loaded in Sharks, but some of the best magic comes toward its conclusion, with Washburn pushing us to broaden our conception of what is magical. It is a welcome debut.
COVID and Chronicle have me reflecting on that kind of crisis: the slow-moving, everyone-knows-it’s-coming kind of threat.