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Jess RowLike all of Howard's work, The Rags of Time is extremely ambitious, not only in scale but also in points of reference. It incorporates, among other elements, detailed forays into the lives of Christopher Columbus, Sir Walter Raleigh and Frederick Law Olmsted; epigraphs from Donne, Kafka, Genesis, Henry James, Doris Lessing and Jacques Derrida; woodcuts by Durer; and prints by Goya. As such, Howard invites the reader to try to make sense of it all, to stare at the structure whole, as if at one of Joseph Cornell's boxes full of minutely arranged objects, and give it a name and a theme. But looking at her writing from this perspective misses the most interesting part: her sentences. No one writing in English today produces anything quite like them.
—The New York Times