Dwight Garner

Is one of my favorite reviewers, for so many reasons. But these few paragraphs are one of them:

These things wouldn’t matter much, though, if her sentences didn’t make such a sensual, smart, wired-up sound on the page. Holding “Day of Honey” I was reminded of the way that, with a book of poems, you can very often flip through it for five minutes and know if you’re going to like it; you get something akin to a contact high. Let me skim through “Day of Honey” for you, plucking lines and snippets almost at random. A few I had underlined in my copy, many I hadn’t.

“Hatred was the force that determined where you lived”; “she was too kidnappable”; “What god leant down and whispered in what mortal ear to put walnuts inside an eggplant?”; “joyful, revolutionary mall rats”; “chain-smoking her Davidoffs and squeezing lemons into vodka”; “Beirut is a city of balconies”; “He whimpered the way men do when you wake them up”; “bombed into a concrete goulash”; “Hezbollah is known for many things, but grace under criticism is not one of them.”

I could fill the rest of this space with resonant lines from “Day of Honey,” and I’m pretty tempted to do so. (O.K., another one: the huge white Toyota Land Cruisers “were ‘Monicas,’ after the former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.”) But there is more to say about it. For one, don’t be put off by its feeble cover, a sentimental photograph of a cute and smiling Middle Eastern girl sitting beside a pile of cut pink flowers. It looks like the cover of some mediocre nonprofit group’s annual report, or of Guideposts magazine.