Reviews

“Beguiling….An unsettling page-turner….Packer knows just how to make a story build:  the novel reveals a sure sense of pace and pitch, a brilliant ear for character….What is the relationship between love and loyalty, and how much of each can we expect? Packer has brought to these intractable questions the energy of a humane novel that possesses, at its center, a searching emotional generosity.” (Read the full review)

—NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“The trick to what Ms. Packer does lies in the utterly lifelike quality of her book’s everyday detail and the secret, graceful ways in which that detail becomes revealing….A careful, elegant writer…This is a densely enveloping book, presented with uncommon assurance for a debut novelist…and it succeeds in raising profound moral issues within the context of ordinary life.”  (Read the full review)

—THE NEW YORK TIMES

“Gracefully written and provocative….An elegant book.” (Read the full review)

—WASHINGTON POST BOOK WORLD

“Intricately detailed, deeply felt, compelling and utterly surprising….Wonderfully satisfying.” (Read the full review)

—SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

“A graceful writer….A quietly provocative novel….This debut…has a kind of control and austerity uncommon in a first novel….Packer has a wonderfully optimistic yet realistic view of humanity.”

—CHICAGO TRIBUNE

“Engrossing….Packer [has] a naturalist’s vigilance for detail, so that her characters seem observed rather than invented….The result is genuine suspense.”

—THE NEW YORKER

“Remarkably assured, utterly winning…Packer’s characters scramble up from these pages as terrifically physical beings, so well does she describe them.”

—THE MIAMI HERALD

“A brilliant scenario . . . [The Dive from Clausen’s Pier] has an affinity with the work of Rosellen Brown . . . and Anne Tyler. . . . Packer’s writing is confident and unadorned; she pulls the reader into Carrie’s world from the very first sentence . . . For a literary book that is in no way a thriller, The Dive from Clausen’s Pier is full of suspense. . . . Packer writes with a rare density of detail and ideas, and it’s just possible that the reader will be wiser at the end of the book than she was at the beginning.”

—NEWSDAY

“Both a colorful chronicle of life in Wisconsin and New York City…and a serious, moving meditation on the nature of love and loyalty.”


—GLAMOUR

“Packer’s novel explores how life itself can confront ordinary human beings with daunting moral dilemmas.”

—USA TODAY

“A fast, absorbing read. . . . Packer [has] written a first novel whose subject easily transcends the page.”

—ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

“A winning debut novel.”

—VOGUE

“Packer writes straight-forward prose that carries a good deal of emotional weight. . . . Calls to mind . . . Sue Miller’s The Good Mother . . . will appeal to fans of Jane Hamilton’s A Map of the World or Jacquelyn Mitchard’sThe Deep End of the Ocean . . . full of sorrow and exceedingly real.”

—THE BOSTON GLOBE

“One of those small miracles that reinforce our faith in fiction. It does what the best novels so often do, making the largest things visible by its perfect rendering of life on the smaller scale. It is witty, tragic, and touching, and beguiling from its first page.”

—SCOTT TUROW

“Packer] plays the slower rhythms of Madison against the Broadway boogie-woogie of Manhattan to great effect.”

—THE ECONOMIST

“Ambitious . . . both a colorful chronicle of life in Wisconsin and New York City . . . and a serious, moving meditation on the nature of love and of loyalty.”

—GLAMOUR

“Impressive . . . Packer skillfully distills broad themes into small, personal moments . . . a thoughtful and satisfying examination of duty and personal integrity.”

—TIME OUT NEW YORK

“Remarkably assured, utterly winning. . . . Packer’s characters scramble up from these pages as terrifically physical beings, so well does she describe them.”

—MIAMI HERALD

“Absorbing . . . the suspense of the book’s last pages is intense and moving.”

—CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER

“Rich with characters and restrained in its language, Packer’s novel is, first and foremost, a great story.”

—MINNEAPOLIS STAR TRIBUNE

“Fresh, contemporary, and fast-paced . . . a powerful and compelling read.”

—BALTIMORE SUN

“Packer knows just where she wants to take us . . . [and] the journey is worth taking.”

—MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

“Multilayered…absolutely credible and quite surprising.”

—SEATTLE TIMES

“A book I couldn’t let go for days after finishing. . . . This book will make you think, so read it and pass it on to a friend.”

—WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL