“Nathaniel Rich spent most of his twenties re-shaping the Great American Novel to fit the 21st century...This is a novel with a big brain and a cheeky wink by an author who could well become one of the defining writers of his generation.”
The Sunday Telegraph [UK]

“In this tale about the obsessive relationship between a writer and his voice, Nathaniel Rich finds his own.”
Men's Vogue

“Rich delivers a daring, wonderfully weird first novel. The book is divided into two narratives...The stories never cross explicitly, but an electricity arcs between them, inducing an effect as haunting as the reality-collapsing yarns of Paul Auster.”

“Imaginatively folkloric...the experience of sharing in its feverish tussling with ideas is consistently exuberant.”
The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“A beautifully written novel...hugely inventive and playful.”

“When Rich writes of his characters, their affections, their impulses and failings, he writes generously and movingly...Surprising friendships, small intimacies of fidelity and kindness, large gestures of joy: The
Mayor’s Tongue
does all these so well, pointing the way to Nathaniel Rich’s promise as a fiction writer.”
The New York Times Book Review (Editors' Choice)

The Mayor's Tongue is a spare masterpiece of postmodernism, an incisive fable whose myriad threads of plot and thought take the inhibitions of our era to task and make Rich's first novel a New York Trilogy for the new millennium.”
The Boston Globe

“The effort of an extremely strong writer. The Mayor's Tongue is going to invite heady literary comparisons (Borges, Calvino; let's add Flann O'Brien)...Rich is on his way.”

The Mayor's Tongue is a playful, highly intellectual novel about serious subjects -- the failure of language, for one, and how we cope with that failure in order to keep ourselves sane.”
The Washington Post

“The book is original and wildly ambitious; his inventiveness is joyous.”
The Guardian

“Nathaniel Rich’s beguiling debut novel, The Mayor’s Tongue, is a welcome reminder that experimental fiction can have a sense of play and emotional depth without becoming a stage for showoff-y acrobatics…[Rich] securely nails down the thematic tent poles of his story—­the difficulty of locating what we love most, the role of storytelling in our lives, and the way language confuses as much as it connects.”
Washington City Paper

“One of 2008's strongest debuts, a smart slice of magical realism with wicked wordplay and imaginative verve.”
The Louisville Courier-Journal

“If ambition wins prizes, Nathaniel Rich's mantelpiece should be creaking by the end of the year.”
The Financial Times

“Rich has stuffed this marvelously strange debut novel to the breaking point. It gets through two or three promising false starts before the real narrative takes hold, and the abandoned plotlines are less distractions than an embarrassment of creative riches. A dozen stories seethe within the skin of this one, a novel that blends the impersonal beauties of folktale with the very personal quest of its youthful, angsty protagonist.”
—Time Out Chicago

“Shockingly strong debut from gifted writer... There is little beyond exuberance to betray The Mayor’s Tongue as a debut novel…Rich demonstrates an almost impish delight in confounding rather than elucidating, systematically disfiguring the barrier between fiction and reality…The novel’s foremost delight is its measured, nearly imperceptible descent into the realm of fairy-tale. There is no rabbit hole to fall through—reality and fairy-tale co-exist, sharing the same borders, the same characters, and the same heartbreak for jilted lovers.”
Paste Magazine

“Rich's novel reads a little like a hybrid of The New York Trilogy and Up the Faraway Tree, with frequent appearances of wood sprites and other forest-dwelling creatures. The fantasy element develops throughout and Rich is at his most successful in the throes of it, building towards his mad denouement...it is original and intelligent, and Rich is an elegant writer with a great deal of promise. He is definitely one to watch.”
The Observer [UK]

“Rich's debut novel is so ambitious in scope, mature in its reach and voluptuous in detail that it feels like the work of a much older writer...an extraordinary, hallucinatory saga.”
—Arena Magazine

“Nathaniel Rich, the debut author of The Mayor’s Tongue, deserves high praise for...attempting to strike his own path with a fresh voice and ambitious storyline...One cannot finish The Mayor’s Tongue without having been impressed by it.”
The Times of London

“Nathaniel Rich's first novel is a coming-of-age story like Pinocchio in reverse: Instead of growing up to become a real boy, the hero of The Mayor’s Tongue grows up to find out that he's not real at all. If you're a Pynchon or Fowles fan, it's a novel for you.”
—San Francisco Chronicle

“Few American fiction debuts in recent years have thumbed their noses at literary convention like Nathaniel Rich’s The Mayor’s Tongue: Its serio-comic blending of the real and the fantastic often recalls Stanley Elkin’s early work.”
—Time Out New York

“ Wildly ambitious...Rich is manifestly talented and will certainly go on to great success.”
The Jewish Chronicle

The Mayor’s Tongue is funny and strange, well-written and eloquent...Rich [creates] a mad yet beautiful world in The Mayor’s Tongue, and following Eugene and Mr. Schmitz as they chase their white rabbit is one bizarre trip.”
The Las Vegas Review-Journal

“Rich has constructed nothing less than a creation myth that attempts to explain why people, throughout history, have been so enamored with telling stories in the first place...a meticulously structured piece of literary architecture... Rich's access to emotional truth, coupled with his obvious technical gifts as a writer, offers the reader a reward of its own -- and makes the prospect of a second novel one to be anticipated with pleasure.”
The Barnes & Noble Review

“A highly entertaining, erudite book.”
The Dallas Morning News

"Rich’s strangely hypnotic novel, brimming with fantastical figures, gently pulls readers into its orbit."

"The Mayor’s Tongue is a delightful, literate novel... Nathaniel Rich has a talent for storytelling...It's a treat to communicate with Mr. Rich's flights of fancy."
The Washington Times

"Nathaniel Rich has written an intoxicating fairy tale...[He] challenges the reader to leave behind the world they know and understand and walk alongside changeling guides through a foreign landscape. It's a bit like watching an early David Lynch film, trying to discern an objective reality in a world engulfed with hallucinations, deception, and the blindness of love."
The Buffalo News

“Contained in The Mayor’s Tongue is a mystery, a book within a book, a love story (sort of), a bildungsroman (definitely), and an ode to storytelling that manages to avoid pretension, all told in a highly comic, self-consciously literary voice. All of which demands of its reader a serious involvement and a light heart. Like all great reads, attention must be paid -- and it shall be rewarded."
—Jonathan Messinger, Stop Smiling

“A love story and a travel narrative frame themes of identity and communication with all the surreal complexity of Beckett and Bulgakov."
Metroland (Albany, NY)

“Rich invites absolute trust in his postmodern jousting with the reality-busting potential of storytelling, not least because his real interest lies in the communication gaps between people and how love can be used to redeem them."
London Metro

“ Creative force in The Mayor’s Tongue is generative and fantastical, but it’s also terrifying, with every storyteller trapped in a world of his own creation. In Rich’s case, that world is playful, exuberant, and gloriously weird."
Fiction Writers Review

“The most impressive aspect of The Mayor's Tongue is the exquisite quality of Rich's writing. His well-chosen words are fresh and raw, creating vivid images for the reader, yet still subtle enough to allow the reader to form his or her own conclusions and emotional interpretations about the story and the lives of the characters."
—Blogcritics Magazine

“Rich is already one of today's literary superstars. His expertise is clear. He knows how to tell a good story, and, more importantly, he knows how to tell a smart one. The monstrous Eakins, swollen with the power he wields over his characters, is a frightening spectacle to any reader with aspirations of writing, and Rich manages to weave a rather abstract theme—the barriers of language, and how much of what we communicate is simply made up on one or both ends of the conversation—through two quite distinct stories...The Mayor's Tongue is a fascinating and engaging read.”
The Columbia Spectator

“I read The Mayor's Tongue with ever-increasing delight, rooting with all my heart for the young protagonist on his near-mythic quest. This is an elegantly-structured, brilliantly-told novel, by turns terrifying, touching, and wildly funny, and always generous and magical. The Mayor's Tongue is about how we talk to each other and how make-believe helps us get on with our lives; most of all, it's about love. Kudos to Nathaniel Rich, who has created a brave book, a novel brimming with brio.”
—Stephen King

“Ambitious, intelligent, hallucinatory, and, most important: heartfelt. Here is a young writer who is not afraid to give literature a kick in the pants, a writer deep in the thrall of language.”
—Gary Shteyngart

The Mayor's Tongue reminds me of Peter Carey's early work-the highest possible praise. It presents a young writer of deep ambition and imagination working with a kind of unnerving maturity. It's clear from the very first pages that Nathaniel Rich can really write, and he proceeds to unfurl a fascinating Möbius strip of a novel, its dual narratives swerving and twisting until they've come together in a way that seems all at once impossible and endlessly elegant.”
—Colum McCann