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Daphne Merkin… all of this material is clearly dear to Perlman's heart, which brings me to what may be the most important aspect of his novel -- what would once have been called its soul. Perlman has been compared to Jonathan Franzen and Philip Roth, but he strikes me as less like them -- or like most contemporary writers, for that matter -- than like one of those energetic Victorian novelists who had ''the art of seeing all the world as the potentiality of fiction,'' to quote Nabokov again. There are traces of Dickens's range in Perlman and of George Eliot's generous humanist spirit. No, he's not there yet. He could use more humor, and he doesn't have to tell us everything he's ever heard or seen or read. All the same, this is an exciting gamble of a novel, one willing to lose its shirt in its bid to hold you. Be prepared to give it time. Be prepared to skim when you come to a particularly annoying digression. But most of all be prepared to stay with it for the long haul. It's worth it.
— The New York Times