Reviews

Praise for Louisa Hall’s Speak

 

“Speak is one of a kind, the type of novel that seemingly comes out of nowhere and hits like a thunderbolt. It’s not just one of the smartest books of the year, it’s one of the most beautiful ones, and it almost seems like an understatement to call it a masterpiece”–National Public Radio

“Crystalline, utterly persuasive and transfixing…the freshness — the brilliance, even — of Speak lies in its positioning of robots not as terrifyingly new, but as the latest in a long line of ‘magic mirrors’ from which we are powerless to look away.”–The New York Times Book Review

“Quietly sublime…Hall’s prose is as close to flawless as one can hope for in a fallen world.”–The Chicago Tribune 

Strange, beautiful and unputdownable.” —The New York Post

“Intelligent and absorbing…Speak is a hypnotic read.”–The Guardian

Stunning…Comparisons to Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, and Helen Phillips will abound, but the remarkable Speak is a unique creation that stands on its own.Bustle

“Audacious…wry and poignant.”–The Washington Post

“Hall is a poet, and Speak is very much a poet’s novel, full of exquisitely written visual description. There is a Nabokovian vividness to many of the observations… Hall repeatedly and cannily turns her sentences to look backwards, because her book is profoundly about how the past makes the present, how memories and stories constitute our souls.”–The Guardian

Like (Mary) Shelley, (Louisa Hall) has created what might be described as a “philosophical romance” which ultimately reveals that the real monster resides within ourselves, not within our science.–The Roanoke Times

“Complex, haunting, and a little too real.”–The Rumpus

“Speak is a poignant reminder that language has mystery, and that questions of authenticity will always be with us.” ­–The Tampa Bay Times

“A compulsively readable tale.”–The Austin American Statesman

“Speak is a novel of uncanny breadth and ambition.”–Fiction Advocate

“Call it the influence of David Mitchell or Hari Kunzru, but Speak is a kaleidoscope of a book… it is a novel that wants to raise big questions about how we know one another and ourselves.” ­–Los Angeles Times

Speak gazes boldly forward and lovingly back in order to report on the nature of what it means to be human now.” Elle Magazine

“A mesmerizing examination of the tenuous divide between man and machine”–The Bozeman Daily Chronicle

“For fans of David Mitchell and Margaret Atwood…this is an audacious, thoughtful, brilliant novel.”–The Sound

“The novel’s conceit might appeal to fans of David Mitchell, though Ms. Hall is mostly interested in plumbing the sensitive depths of her characters rather than tightening the screws of a mind-blowing schematic.”–The New York Times

“Fascinating…a book that achieves a tough combination: its frightening and highly scientific, yet also poignant.”–Bookpage

“Hall’s empathy suffuses each character’s voice, and the letters from Turing are especially touching.”–New York One

“(Speak) has already drawn obvious comparisons to David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. But Hall’s voices, which constitute a fragmented alternate history of artificial intelligence, are more earthbound than Mitchell’s. In journal entries, unanswered letters, and the occasional computer testimonial, explorers of all kinds are overheard speaking into the void, ruminating on lost memories, missed connections, and the fatal flaws of men and their machines.”–New York Magazine

“Expansive, thoughtful…much like the big question mark hanging over the possibilities of AI, Hall’s story tends to raise questions without definitive answers. “Speak” leaves its conclusions to its readers, to flip back and forth among the characters’ differing points of view and decide for themselves — and is all the more engaging for it.”–The Salt Lake Tribune

“A sensitive, beautiful, and timely novel.” —Amazon Best Books of July 2015

To go from the voice of [a] daunted, yet empathetic young puritan girl to a the voice of a heart-broken, over-worked Jewish refugee and computer science professor in the ‘60s is close to acrobatic for an author to pull off, in terms of switching the rhythms and energies of her narrative voice… Hall’s words on these pages made it seem effortless.” —Paste Magazine

“[A] remarkably fresh new novel about artificial intelligence… so new, so unusual, and so necessary…its focus on the relationships between humans and the computers they talk to feels entirely original.” –Barnes & Noble / Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog

“Hall subtly weaves a thread through a temporally diverse cast of narrators.  Like all good robot novels, Speak raises questions about what it means to be human as well as the meaning of giving voice to memory.”Booklist, Starred Review

Delicately crafted, fragile, and infinitely beautiful, uncovering humanity’s most elusive and abstract thoughts.” ABA Indie Next List

“Hall capably weaves the stories to form a beautiful rumination on the nature of memory and the frailty of human relationships.”–Library Journal, Starred Review

Speak is that rarest of finds: a novel that doesn’t remind me of any other book I’ve ever read. A complex, nuanced, and beautifully written meditation on language, immortality, the nature of memory, the ethical problems of artificial intelligence, and what it means to be human.”–Emily St. John Mandel, author of Station Eleven

“Everything you could want in a story is here: courage and cowardice, lust and devotion, sickness and health, partings and death, better and worse. Speak is a novel that calls to the reader in many voices, harnessed to one distinct and singular imagination: Louisa Hall’s. Turn to page one and be amazed.”–Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman

Speak reads like a hybrid of David Mitchell and Margaret Atwood; a literary page turner that spans four centuries and examines the idea of who and what we define as human. Louisa Hall has written a brilliant novel.”–Philipp Meyer, author of The Son

“Louisa Hall’s Speak is a deeply original and intelligent novel. It’s also riveting. I wouldn’t have thought artificial intelligence, as a subject, would make for such a warm and human and psychologically astute novel. I’ll be thinking about Babybots and Hall’s quietly chilling and all-too-plausible vision of the near-future for a long time to come.” –Adelle Waldman, author of The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P.

“Speak is a triumph. With a poet’s voice, Louisa Hall reaches into the past and imagines the future to weave a beautifully complex novel about our human need to communicate. The result is a transcendent story about artificial intelligence that heartbreaking and very, very real.”Ivy Pochoda, author of Visitation Street

 

Praise for Louisa Hall’s The Carriage House

 

“A chronicler of American suburban sadness to rival the likes of John Cheever and Richard Yates.”Tom Cox, Sunday Express

“[A] marvelously mature debut…Hall displays a Whartonian malice…[and] seamlessly transitions among the many individual points of view…The novel’s technical proficiency and its gratifyingly nuanced ending make it easy to recommend.”Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“A twisted family saga lodged in John Cheever and Wes Anderson.”Rebecca Bengal, Vogue

“A splendid, carefully plotted, open-hearted novel”–James Zug, The Boston Globe

“The Carriage House is gorgeously detailed and rife with betrayal, heartbreak, nostalgia, lost love, and possibilities for redemption. You will ache for the Adair family, cringe at their mistakes, and plead with them to make peace with each other before it’s too late. In her smart and insightful debut, Louisa Hall examines the ways in which we fail and forgive others–and ourselves.”Megan Mayhew Bergman, author of Birds of a Lesser Paradise

“Graceful prose…the themes of memory and nostalgia threading through the novel are especially resonant.”Abigail Meisel, The New York Times Book Review

The Carriage House is full of compelling personal portraits–characters who’ll stay with you long after you put the book down.”Charles Ealey, Austin American Statesman

“Through superb character development, narrative innovations that are all her own, and humor that winks at Austen…Hall crafts a poignant tale.”Emma Adler, The Harvard Crimson

“Kind-hearted and subtle–a tribute to Jane Austen’s Persuasion.”Vanora Bennett, The Times

“In this engaging debut, Hall renders an intriguing cast of characters striving to find hope in the midst of despair.”Allison Block, Booklist

“Fluid, intelligent prose…a grand drama of clashing personalities.”Michael Leonard, Curled Up with a Good Book