In The Washington Post Ron Charles looks at The White King:

“Dragomán allows himself some room to experiment with tone and style, including a couple of oddly funny episodes and a surreal encounter with a hideously disfigured man who cares for hundreds of song birds in his dank lair. Among the most moving chapters are those that describe Djata’s infrequent meetings with his elderly grandfather, a decorated politician who was forced into retirement by his son’s arrest. Though doing his best to resist this public humiliation and maintain his formal dignity, the old man is clearly becoming an alcoholic, and his awkward efforts to reach out to his only grandson are full of unspoken remorse. At what turns out to be their last meeting, he takes the boy to a favorite vista and parks the car. “He said he’d have me know that this was the loveliest town in the whole wide world, even in this dull gray weather it shimmers and it shines, but he’d advise me to leave it at once if I ever got the chance, to leave and not come back ever again, to leave not only the city but the country too, to leave my home behind. He fell silent, gulped down the last of the beer from the bottle, and then suddenly flung it straight toward town.”

Young Djata can’t always comprehend the full magnitude of what he’s witnessing, but through the simple, vivid voice of these scary and oddly mirthful stories, we can. ”

The full piece is here.