Gunners (Kauffman) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Unusually for a literary novelist, Kauffman has no fear of overt feeling. When she explores an emotion, she does it with absolute candor. Her characters announce their grief and affection and rage in a way that few others do.… If it's rare for a contemporary literary novelist to address emotion so bluntly, it's even rarer if that novelist is female.… The brilliance of The Gunners is that it helps you. Kauffman teaches you the right way to read her prose.… Another thing literary novelists don't often let themselves do is write novels with morals, or messages, but The Gunners has one. It's clear, though not easy: Accept your emotions. Feel them bluntly, plainly. Allow yourself to flinch.
NPR Books


Novels about friendships are the new fad but trust me when I tell you that this one is truly superlative. A gracefully endearing story which delves deeply into the nature of childhood friendship while also shining a light on chronic illness and LGTBQ rights.
Chicago Review of Books


In the beautifully wrought The Gunners , life ends not with a whimper, but with a bang.… This engrossing book's suspense lies not just in what will happen, but in what already has.… Kauffman is interested in the muddiness of love—how it can be selfish and desperate, even cruel.… When it comes to love, Kauffman suggests, we're equal parts predator and prey.
Oprah Magazine


A vivid, layered novel.… Endearing and intimate, Kauffman steers clear of veering into cliche, reviving a well-worn premise into something new and exciting.
Harper's Bazaar


This story examines how the secrets held and harbored by friends, and the defining relationships of childhood and adolescence, never fully leave us (1 of the Best Books of 2018, So Far).
Esquire


A riveting portrayal of the joys and mysteries of growing up, and of friendship itself.
People


A moving novel.… Each character comes to terms with their dark past, and uncertain futures—like an intimate hangout session, dashed with suspense and few extra layers of emotional beauty. You'll find yourself thinking of Freaks and Geeks, The Big Chill, and maybe all those friends you've been meaning to text (The Must List).
Entertainment Weekly


This gorgeous story of loss and friendship follows a group of childhood best friends when they reunite as adults to grapple with a friend’s suicide.… Weaving back and forth through the past and present, this tender story explores the secrets we carry from the past (1 of the Best Books of 2018, So Far).
Real Simple


(Starred review) [P]erceptive, funny, and endearing…, this remarkable novel is just as satisfying and provides readers with an entire cast of characters who will feel like old friends upon finishing.
Publishers Weekly


Neither dark nor despairing, this work admirably expresses the satisfying comfort derived from… long-term friendships even as it evokes sadness about the losses and challenges that come with transitioning to adulthood. A successful… effort
Library Journal


A little bit like The Big Chill , Kauffman’s quiet and deep second novel reconciles the responsibilities we carry and the secrets we keep with the outsize pleasure of being known and loved by a chosen family.
Booklist


[V]ivid and compelling characters struggling with what is in some ways the most universal dilemma: how to grow up.… Kauffman lays bare the lessons of youth and truth. A layered and loving bildungsroman of friendship.
Kirkus Reviews

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