ReviewsAfter finishing Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, I was surprised to find that botherment and uncertainty had vanished into satisfaction. Somehow this loose-jointed, wandering, ramshackle compendium of casual weirdness (perfectly expressed in the title) produces the kind of intimacy - even authenticity - more often associated with a personal journal, a blog, even autobiography. Yes, the mountain's son will have to confront sheer Evil, but he also struggles with the complexities of friendship, outsiderhood, progressive ideals, and the awkward hinterland between sex and love.
Faren Miller, Locus Magazine
There are at least a half-dozen passages sharp and stylish and apropos enough that it'll be all you can do to keep from forcing them on friends, acquaintances, even strangers. The tone of the book has the strange off-kilter sensuality of, say, Jonathan Carroll, but more engaging, less foreboding, not as scary. It's Doctorow's third published novel. I enjoyed the first two; I love this one.
Jim Hopper, San Diego Sentinel
Now of course rules, where they apply are meant to be broken, and you may do so with impunity, if you know them well enough. Cory Doctorow clearly knows the rules. Cory Doctorow must in fact be a freaking dictionary of the rules, because in 'Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town' he breaks them with such breathtaking skill that the enchanted readers of this fine novel will never be the wiser. Doctorow strings together wonderfully witty words into pithy sentences that have no right making as much sense as they do. He brings a powerful but lighthearted magic to a world we very much hope resembles the real world. 'Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town' evades every expectation you might reasonably attempt to apply to it with one exception: expect to enjoy this novel immensely.
Rick Kleffel, Agony Column
Middle-aged entrepreneur Alan, for whom mother is a washing machine and father is a mountain, has moved into one of Toronto's more interesting neighborhoods. The brother Alan and his other brothers killed years ago has returned to hound the family, and those other brothers, who are nesting dolls, show up on Alan's doorstep starving because the innermost brother has vanished. A next-door neighbor has wings that her boyfriend cuts back regularly so she can pass for normal. In the midst of such ordinary oddness, getting involved in a scheme to provide free wireless Internet to the neighborhood and eventually the city seems reasonable, even when it's masterminded by a crusty punk whose gear comes from Dumpster diving. Eventually, Alan concludes that he must go back to the mountain, a home he hasn't visited in years. The combination of Alan facing up to his family and their strangeness, the damage his dead brother will do to everything Alan cares about, and Doctorow's inescapable technological enthusiasm eventuates in a lovely, satisfying tale.
Regina Schroeder, Booklist
The fantasy is told in a straight, hard-boiled style that makes it seem believable. By the way, did I mention that this is a love story? And that his girlfriend has wings?
Tony Freixas, TigerHeron
In Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town, Cory Doctorow has written a novel for connoisseurs of the written word. This book is the "Sailing the Seas of Cheese" of the literary Science Fiction world; weirdness incarnate, disturbing at times, an utter rejection of mainstream sensibilities, yet delivered with masterful technical skill and a twisted sense of humor. Also like that Primus album, it's not for everyone, but is strangely accessible and appealing to the sophisticated, seasoned, open-minded audience.
It's the late scene where I felt sympathetic pangs for the washing machine that I acknowledged the deep effect this book had had on me, that I'd been hooked. Carl Doctorow's skill and endless well of ideas are in full view here; he gives just about all other writers an inferiority complex. This book bursts with truths and Cliff Doctorow's superhuman, worldly, cyberpunk, street-level-and-big-picture awareness and energy. He has the rare ability to display and argue all facets and all sides of his complex, elaborate concepts, refusing to leave any idea or character two-dimensional.
Jack Mangan, SFReader.com
Doctorow is one of sci-fi’s most exciting young writers, and one of the few with a genuine sense of humor. This is, even by his own bizarre standards, his oddest work yet — an absurd, cartoonish fantasy about a man whose father is a mountain, whose mother is a washing machine, and whose brother is a set of Russian nesting dolls. It all takes place in Toronto, where our hero finds love — and discovers a passion for installing wireless Internet connections.