New York Times Book Review, "Editor's Choice"
New York Public Library, "Best Books of 2022"
May Indie Next List
Publishers Weekly, "Summer Reads 2022"
Literary Hub, "Favorite Books of 2022"
"Haber's comic novel tracks the friendship, falling-out and sort-of reconciliation of two critics who have devoted their careers to a 16th-century painting of St. Sebastian that both find sublime-though for different reasons. What is it about art that can move us to extremes? This absurdist take on very serious people hazards a guess." –The New York Times, "Editor's Choice"
"A meditation on art that meticulously builds a fictional painter's world and critical legacy, only to playfully yet ruthlessly tear it all down. This tale of two art historical frenemies traces an apocalyptic obsession that circumscribes every waking moment of their lives." –New York Public Library
"[A] sparkling comic novel. . . . Every few pages Haber, the author of one other novel and a story collection, throws in a gem. . . . Schmidt is one of Haber's keenest inventions." –Jackson Arn, The New York Times
"[Saint Sebastian's Abyss
] poses huge questions that tax the heart as much as the brain. . . . Haber's slim volume quietly contemplates a possible distinction of art and not-art, as well as the nature of authority and of elitism. Taut as a drum, it also calls to mind the early novellas of Roberto Bolañntilde;o and reads, at times, like an outtake from William Gaddis's The Recognitions
." –Andrew Ervin, The Brooklyn Rail
"Haber relishes opportunities to tip sacred cows. . . . Beckenbauer and his painting are the work of Haber's imagination. But his critics feel so richly realized that one could be excused for Googling 'Saint Sebastian's Abyss' to glimpse at a canvas that only exists in the book." –Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle
"In sinuous, recursive sentences infused with equal parts reverence and venom, Haber constructs a darkly parodic portrait of aesthetic devotion and intellectual friendship, in which the redemptive practice of collaborative interpretation becomes a cage that two egos relentlessly rattle." –Nathan Goldman, Jewish Currents
"A delightful and dizzying excursion into the relationship between art and criticism, and all the ways that we often deceive ourselves about the things and people we love. Concise and deftly rendered, it moves forward like a rocket–or more accurately, like the transatlantic flight his unnamed American narrator takes to visit his friend and nemesis Schmidt in Berlin. . . . In each of their lives, the painting has become a kind of mirror, reflecting their ideas and their assertions back upon themselves." –David L. Ulin, Alta Journal
"Very, very funny, especially if you are an artist, or if you know any. The barbs . . . are outlandish and glorious. But it's not only a farce about ill-placed obsessions–this novel, short as it is, asks profound questions about the nature and value of art and art criticism, and also manages to be a moving account of a friendship." –Emily Temple, Literary Hub