"The housebreaker had a rattish charm. He’d been a bad student, I thought. I still had the teacher’s eye: scan the room and see who’s going to be trouble. I opened the door to the basement stairs, pulled the dusty beaded chain that lit the bulb, and there he was, just looking at me."
"The older woman, her piano instructor, had strange habits which grew in number and deepened during their time together, small quirks of the hand or eyes, and something she did with her silvering hair; she tore at it, chewed it..."
"A million versions of this type of scene exist, but very few of them possess this level of restraint (as rare as a New York writer content not to call by name the streets and avenues which appear in his fiction), a comportment fundamental to Martin’s aims, creating an uncanny middle-point between ground-level realism and out-and-out cultural satire, in effect weaponizing the novel’s aesthetic and its characters’ relation to the material."
"...the very shifting of tectonic plates turns a low-lying island into high ground and the seafloor into a post-apocalyptic warzone, the setting for a bizarre romance between a former Vogue model and a whale..."