Fiction Archive

Review: JUVENTUD by Vanessa Blakeslee

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Juventud Vanessa Blakeslee Curbside Splendor Publishing, October 2015 340 pp, $15.95 Buy paperback | eBook Blame radiates outward from the center of Vanessa Blakeslee’s new novel, Juventud, which begins in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, during the conflict between FARC and ELN in 1999. First-person narrator fifteen-year-old Mercedes Martinez blames

Review: THE STATE WE’RE IN: MAINE STORIES by Ann Beattie

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THE STATE WE’RE IN: MAINE STORIES Ann Beattie Scribner, Aug 2015 224 pages $25 buy: hardcover | eBook Maine, for Ann Beattie in her new collection, is a state of life, and that is the beautiful trick of the title, The State We’re In: Maine Stories. It is both

The Fairytale Redux: On Patrick deWitt’s “Undermajordomo Minor”

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The last thing the world needs is another reimagining of the fairy tale. It has been done from every angle: straightforward, post-modern, and (yawn) from the villain’s perspective. So it was with some wariness that I approached Patrick deWitt’s new novel, Undermajordomo Minor, a fairy tale of sorts that

Review: NOTHING LOOKS FAMILIAR by Shawn Syms

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NOTHING LOOKS FAMILIAR Shawn Syms Arsenal Pulp Press Published in Canada September 2014; available elsewhere since May 2015 184 pages $15.95 Buy paperback | NOOK | Kindle Complex characters are damn hard to write. Perhaps this explains why contemporary fiction is full of characters designed to be relatable and easily digestible. These

Review: SWEET CARESS by William Boyd

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Sweet Caress William Boyd Bloomsbury, September 15, 2015 449 pp, $28 Buy here Sweet Caress is the newest novel from the acclaimed William Boyd, author of notable works such as Any Human Heart and A Good Man in Africa. The novel centers on Amory Clay, one of the first

Review: MAYHEM: THREE LIVES OF A WOMAN by Elizabeth Harris

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Mayhem: Three Lives of a Woman Elizabeth Harris Gival Press, October 2015 140 pp, $20 Pre-order here In the opening scene of this exquisite first novel by prizewinning short fiction writer Elizabeth Harris, a young farm wife in a black cloche hat and rummage sale dress climbs out of

Reading as Intoxicant, Part I: Neurochemical Qualities of the Modern Manic Page Peeler

Richard Wright once wrote that reading is like a drug. Countless other authors have written some variation of that same assertion. If you’ve ever found yourself crushed in a corner weeping like a crazy person because the end of your latest literary fixation was fast coming to a close,

Review: MR. AND MRS. DOCTOR by Julie Iromuanya

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Mr. and Mrs. Doctor Julie Iromuanya Coffee House Press, 2015 288 pages Buy: book | eBook Job Ogbonnaya is a liar—or, depending on your taste, a dreamer. After his brother Samuel dies in the Biafran war, Job becomes the hope of his family. They send him to school in

Interactivity and the Game-ification of Books

As an undergrad studying creative writing one of the first things I remember learning was the sin of gimmickry. Readers, I was taught, would see through your cleverness—it would be vile to them and they would hate you. But as a kid and teenager my favorite books employed some

Review: GET IN TROUBLE by Kelly Link

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Get in Trouble Kelly Link Random House, Feb 2015 352 pages Buy: book | eBook For a long time, with all due respect to the memoirists, I’ve believed that fiction holds a particular truth in literature. Maybe by removing the self from the work, and unburdening the story of actual