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Louisa ThomasOates's prose can be demanding, with her proclivity for slashes ("public/professional"; "celebrated/controversial"), long block quotes and list-making…Yet her writing is often exquisite. Long sentences unfold with great beauty, and her lines of argument follow not an artificial arc but the natural course of thought…Oates seems to take special, even unusual, pains not to bend her subjects into her own narrative. She is, instead, intensely focused on the books at hand, marking highlights, supplying context, guiding the reader through passage after passage. Her attention, even in a critic's mode, is unfailingly generous.
—The New York Times