Book Reviews Archive

Dear Dr. Poetry

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Happy Life by David Budbill Copper Canyon Press, August 2011 122 pages $16.00 [Editor’s note: “Dear Dr. Poetry,” a new column by Shannon Wagner, will appear regularly on this blog.]   Dear Dr. Poetry When I sold my VW van to buy my first suit for a job at

Women In Trouble: Emma Goldman

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Emma Goldman: Revolution as a Way of Life Vivian Gornick Yale University Press, September 2011 (Part of the “Jewish Lives” series of interpretative biography) 160 pages $25.00 In a new regular series, Anne Gray Fischer reviews books by or about “women in trouble.” Last month, when the city’s crackdown

Blurbese: “haunting”

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In his new regular column, our blog book reviews editor Andrew Ladd looks at “blurbese,” the contemporary language of book reviews, and names its most egregious offenders. What is it about book critics and the heebie-jeebies? Show most reviewers a pulpy horror story and they’ll turn up their noses

Come In and Cover Me

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Come In and Cover Me Gin Phillips Riverhead Books, January 2012 342 pages $26.95 “What did people do when they abandoned their center? Did they create a new thing altogether, or did they cling to old habits?” Silas Cooper, an archaeologist in Gin Phillips’s second novel, Come In and

Noir

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Noir Robert Coover Overlook/Duckworth Books, November 2011 192 pages $14.00 This post was written by Lynne Weiss. It’s a perfect night. Wind, rain, gloomily overcast, the puddled reflections more luminous than the street lamps they reflect. You’re Philip M. Noir, and you’re looking for a story—or maybe you’re trying

Lost Memory of Skin

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Lost Memory of Skin Russell Banks Ecco, September 2011 432 pages $25.99 Outside of freshman philosophy classes and Republican presidential debates, morality is not a hot topic these days. Books that moralize are considered old-fashioned at best and insulting at worst. Leave it to Russell Banks to write a

So You Know It’s Me

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So You Know It’s Me Brian Oliu Tiny Hardcore Press, June 2011 56 pages $7.00 This post was written by Kim Liao. A good piece of experimental nonfiction is hard to find: Creative nonfiction writers experiment rarely, and when they do, the result is often too tentative or too

The Letter Killers Club

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The Letter Killers Club Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky (Trans. Joanne Turnbull) New York Review Books Classics, December 2011 144 pages $14.00 Separating the mysteries of Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky’s own story from those within the stories he published is a difficult task, especially when, in the case of The Letter Killers Club, written

Not Unlike…

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The Blue Tower Tomaz Salamun (translated by Michael Biggins with the author) Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2011 96 pages $22.00 Editor’s note: P. Scott Stanfield holds a Ph.D. in English and teaches literature at Nebraska Wesleyan University. Recently, I challenged him to see how many literary references he could

End of American Magic

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End of American Magic by Christopher Locke Salmon Poetry / Dufour Editions, Sept. 2011 76 pages $21.95 Arthur Miller may have pronounced the American Dream dead in Death of a Salesman, but Christopher Locke’s new book of poetry, End of American Magic, implies such a pessimistic assessment isn’t wholly accurate.  Like