Praise and Reviews
"In this extraordinary novel, Castleberry brilliantly hopscotches from person to person, from era to era, while somehow making all this fancy footwork look effortless and essential."
- Jenny Offill, author of Department of Speculation and Weather
"Discovering the nature of the characters’ associations and intersections across the chapters is one of the richest pleasures of the book. Another pleasure: the detailed portraits of 20th-century American life. Each chapter is a neatly packed and well-researched time capsule,...the close-clinging omniscient narration nimbly taking on the voices of each decade."
— New York Times Book Review
“Sharply-tuned, funny, satisfyingly strange, and preternaturally poised, unspooling in immaculate prose. Brian Castleberry has that rare, can’t-be-taught ability to turn smoothly at any point in any direction, giving each sentence, no matter how casual, a quiet current of electric suspense.”
- William Finnegan, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Barbarian Days
"Impressive... Memorable characters inhabit a surprising, engaging story of American idealism and its dark opposite."
- Kirkus Reviews
“Scrappy and smart, intently observed and often darkly funny, these people navigate lives where everyday struggle and pleasure ride precariously on a deep undercurrent of menace.”- Chelsey Johnson, author of Stray City
"The truly shining objects are the nine stories that make up this gripping, shapeshifting novel. A debut out of this world."
- Hernan Diaz, author of In the Distance
"Caroming across the changing American social and cultural landscape through the Cold War decades, Brian Castleberry's ambitious, shining novel explores the morphing vision of "America" from nine deeply felt, intricately connected perspectives. A timely book about our ideals, hopes, disillusionments, and their shadowy consequences, Nine Shiny Objects is a significant, daring debut that speaks keenly to our current times."
— Asako Serizawa, author of Inheritors
"Castleberry has pulled off quite a feat. Nine Shiny Objects is an intricately plotted novel of big ideas that’s driven by fully realized characters. I couldn’t wait to turn the page, yet I wanted to linger in each chapter."
— Kelli Jo Ford, author of Crooked Hallelujah
"Marked by literary ambition. ... This is a story about how our individual histories follow us, about light versus dark, but also about our clouded perception of America—and how it continues to divide us."
"A triumph. Author Brian Castleberry’s ability to inhabit each character’s mind, giving each distinct tics in their thought and speech patterns, makes their self-righteousness, confusion, guilt, and hope achingly legible. ... Hidden behind the facade of a book about UFOs is a novel about 20th century America, its flaws and its fears."
— Washington City Paper
"[Castleberry's] deft treatment of the past half-century of U.S. political and cultural history is by turns lively and absurd, violent and ecstatic, just as those times were. ... Suffused by mystery and melancholy, but also with occasional laugh-out-loud slapstick and “Twilight Zone” weirdness."
— Richmond Magazine
"Castleberry crafts a superlatively original tale that incorporates UFOs, government conspiracies, counterculture and hope in this delicately layered novel."
— The Ridgefield Press
"When, in 1947, a Navy pilot reports that he’s seen nine shiny objects flying over the Cascade Mountains, he sets off a chain reaction that affects nine characters, whose lives intersect in remarkable ways over the course of the following four decades. What Castleberry has written is not a novel about UFOs or cults or rock-and-roll but rather a literary saga that dauntlessly explores what it takes to believe."
- Rachel Beanland, author of Florence Adler Swims Forever
"An American original, an epic told in tangents... a dauntingly creative formal invention of a novel."
- Chris Lee, Boswell Book Co., Milwaukee
"The depth and intricacy of the plotting is really something to see, connections on connections on connections that spider out from our titular objects in a manner that cleverly evokes the sorts of red-thread connection webs that we associate with conspiracy theory."
- The Maine Edge
"It’s worth it to take your time and savor this one."
"Each character’s chapter has its own voice, and swells with its own concerns, but they all crackle with tension and linger on loss....The perspectives overlap, but the composite leaves some questions unanswered, some connections intriguingly unrevealed....Castleberry's memorable tale probes fissures and anxieties that are undeniably current.”