Mixed at best.
Have you seen the reviews of the new Alice Sebold book?
It's odd that I'm even paying attention to this, as I really wasn't much of a fan of The Lovely Bones.
Here are links to a few -- there are loads and loads more -- but I'm out of time and have to head in to work. Watch out for spoilers.
From USA Today:
But across America, critics, including myself, imagine that baffled Sebold fans will be stifling little strangled screams (plus inappropriate snickers) as they read The Almost Moon.
From Publishers Weekly:
While Helen has clearly suffered at her mother's hands, the matricide is woefully contrived, and Helen's handling of the body and her subsequent actions seem almost slapstick. Sebold can write, that's clear, but her sophomore effort is not in line with her talent.
From the Christian Science Monitor:
As Helen drags her mother's body all over the house, trying to figure out what to do, the scene veers into ridiculousness. And Helen's inability to clean a woman she's been looking after for a decade will come off as patently absurd to anyone who's ever taken care of an elderly relative. (There are just certain supplies one learns to keep on hand.)
From the Times Online:
During these passages of bog-standard Bildungs-roman it’s as though she’s decamped into another novel, and you have to give thanks for her foresight in putting Mom (who was mad, in case you haven’t guessed) in the freezer.
From the Scotsman:
Ultimately, she is a half-drawn and incomprehensible character, and this is the main problem with this disappointing and strange novel.
From the Plain Dealer:
But unlike, say, the disciplined horror of Elizabeth Hand’s “Generation Loss,” this book is littered with false notes, lurid dialogue and aggressive ugliness. I found myself writing “oh, please” and “trite” and “ugh” across passages in my copy.
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
No disappointment here. Sebold, who grew up in Paoli, may be our true heiress to Poe (NB: We expect her to come back here when her time's up), a novelist who dares to write honestly about the banality of violence, and about how it lives next door to normalcy, in a mist.
The result is an emotionally raw novel that is, at times, almost too painful to read, yet Sebold stays remarkably true to her vision, bringing readers close to a flawed woman who lives in a very narrow world, one full of duty, obligation, and pain.
From the Daily Mail:
Even more moving, powerful and memorable than The Lovely Bones, it is a resounding answer to any critics who might have suggested that Sebold would be hard pushed to deliver a successor novel that scaled the same heights as its predecessor.