• "I was reminded of Berger's Ways of Seeing, enfolded in tender and exuberant personal narratives - it's so sophisticated and fascinating, yet has a Calvinoesque light touch; all the textures and nuances come through without labour. Rigorous and mercurial."

    Claire-Louise Bennett
  • "The prose, in Thomas Bunstead’s translation, is restrained, funny, by turns (and at once) luminous and melancholy… We are left with a profound inquiry into the place and function of art… as remembrance, as joy and consolation, as meaning, as refuge"

    Amy Sackville, Guardian
  • "A highly original, piercingly beautiful work, a book you’ll want to savour… Gainza is a writer who feels immediately important"

    Johanna Thomas-Corr, Observer
  • "Quietly revelatory, and often fascinatingly so"

    David Mills, Sunday Times
  • "When reading The Optic Nerve, works of art are like songs: they carry the excitement and mystery you feel when you stumble upon them. This is the stunning, lucid debut of a writer who finds gold in the most forgotten folds of experience."

    Alan Pauls