In Ashore, Nakanishi writes so that readers see in alloy, where beautiful things and loving things are also damaged and hurt. Pieces echo and return to themselves, and continue echoing after Ashore ends. They act on the reader, while also being acted upon: influenced and not abandoning the specific world of ants, spiders, mountain ranges, and distant brothers.
– Wick Hallos on Laurel Nakanishi
There’s a curious extra-textual layer to “Style,” which is that I started writing it when I was living in the literary wilderness, so to speak. No published fiction to my name—no guide, no map to show me the way out of that place. The story came from a bafflement about who I was as a writer, what it meant to be a writer. By the time I was finishing the story, I hadn’t necessarily landed on a solution to those quandaries, but I had gotten enough approval professionally to have a useful distance from that young-writer distress—to see how the story at heart is sort of a satire of our need to have a self (in the literary world, in the world at large) and how outer recognition does nothing to settle the core angst we’re all trudging through.
– Corey Sobel
The strength of Oyler’s writing comes primarily from her apt observations. Like a novelist of manners, she is highly attuned to the different ways people perform in social situations, both online and offline. When there is comedy in this novel, it is observational. Perhaps due to her background as a critic and culture writer, her prose lends itself to aphorism. There is a satisfying flash of recognition in reading Oyler’s narrator describe a specific emotion, personality type, behavior, or way of interacting online that is familiar to us but seldom described.
– Sofia Montrone on Lauren Oyler