The Gentle Axe was a solid debut, a reincarnation of Dostoevsky’s character from Crime and Punishment. But here Morris seems to have hit his stride. His characters come alive in all their destitution, pretension, madness, fractiousness, and humanity. His portrait of the city, abandoned by the well-to-do in summer, offers a rich, palpably fetid sense of place, and his depiction of nineteenth-century Russian society, festering with revolutionary notions and old grudges, is compelling.
— Thomas Gaughan, Booklist