Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist (Yapa) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
A fantastic debut novel.... What is so enthralling about this novel is its syncopated riff of empathy as the perspective jumps around these participants—some peaceful, some violent, some determined, some incredulous... Yapa creates a fluid sense of the riot as it washes over the city. Your Heart is a Muscle the Size of a Fist ultimately does for WTO protests what Norman Mailer's Armies of the Night did for the 1967 March on the Pentagon, gathering that confrontation in competing visions of what happened and what it meant.
Ron Charles - Washington Post


In this beautifully written, kaleidoscopically shifting novel.... Yapa penetrates to the human connections and disconnections at play between the lines of history in the era of the global village.
Chicago Tribune


This furiously paced and contrapuntal literary tour-de-force makes use of multiple vantage points and benefits from a remarkably empathic sensibility on the part of its author.... With Yapa burrowing into the hearts of these characters, each distinct yet sufferers all, his already weighty story attains a level of profundity.
Miami Herald


Fast-paced and unflinching.... As these characters encounter one another in a fog of tear gas and pepper spray, Yapa vividly evokes rage and compassion. Underlying the novel, and at once reinforced and rejected, is the chief's mantra: "Care too much and the world will kill you cold.
Dallas Morning News


Yapa's novel is a much-needed and refreshing pivot point. His novel makes a case for the validity of all opinions in a conflict the better part of two decades old. This rare quality of his work is a practice that many could benefit from in current conflicts, foreign and domestic.
Denver Post


Sunil Yapa's voice and ambition leap off the page. Here is a writer to watch.
Minneapolis Star Tribune


Fast-paced and unflinching.... As these characters encounter one another in a fog of tear gas and pepper spray, Yapa vividly evokes rage and compassion. Underlying the novel, and at once reinforced and rejected, is the chief's mantra: "Care too much and the world will kill you cold.
New Yorker


Yapa does a heroic job of journeying into the heart of this complex set of events, illustrating how they grow out of and impact the character's lives. And while the heart may be the size of a fist, here it paradoxically seems to encompass the whole world and all of its citizens, who pulse with its every beat.
Rumpus


[C]hilling.... Yapa shows great skill in...[building] a combustible environment, offering brief glimpses of the past to round out each character....[T]he author’s firm grasp of his story loosens a bit. But by the novel’s end, Yapa regains his stride.... [A] memorable, pulse-pounding literary experience.
Publishers Weekly


(Starred review.) In the years after Kent State and Rodney King but before the Black Lives Matter movement, the Battle of Seattle stands out as an example of poorly planned police response to public protest, and Yapa shines a blinding Maglite on the scene.... Yapa's writing is visceral and unsparing. Noteworthy, capital-I Important and a ripping read. —Christine Perkins, Whatcom Cty. Lib. Syst., Bellingham, WA
Library Journal


[A] gripping debut.... Yapa is a skilled storyteller, revealing just enough about his characters and the direction of his plot to engage his readers, yet effectively building dramatic impact by withholding certain key details. In the style of Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin, Yapa ties together seemingly disparate characters and narratives through a charged moment in history, showing how it still affects us all in different ways.
Booklist


Yapa's grasp of the pre-9/11 global diaspora is sound, and he's knowledgeable about the tactics that both protesters and law enforcement use against each other. But lacking much in the way of deep characterization...the novel is largely a parade of pat sentiments and facile contradictions.... The genre deserves a better revival effort than this.
Kirkus Reviews

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