Book Reviews Archive

Power Ballads

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Power Ballads Will Boast University of Iowa Press, October 2011 160 pages $16.00 This post was written by Lynne Weiss. A lot of writers are drawn to music. There is nothing scientific about this impression, but I think there are more novels, poems, and stories about music and musicians

Wunderkind

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Wunderkind Nikolai Grozni Free Press, September 2011 289 pages $24.00 Anger, sarcasm, and longing fuel Nikolai Grozni’s autobiographical novel Wunderkind, set in the late 1980s in a communist Sofia that is stony, backlit red. Crows and ravens populate a landscape overwhelmed with death; necrologies are tacked to trees and

Rust Fish

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Rust Fish Maya Jewell Zeller Lost Horse Press, April 2011 77 pages $15.00 Maya Jewell Zeller’s bio tells us that she was “Born at home in the upstairs apartment of her parents’ gas station on the Oregon coast,” and this half-sentence provides exactly enough information to authenticate the stories

Silver Sparrow

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Silver Sparrow Tayari Jones Algonquin Books, May 2011 $19.95 352 pages This post was written by Margaret LaFleur. Reading Silver Sparrow, Tayari Jones’s latest novel, is much like playing a child’s memory card game. The cards are placed face down in front of you, and each turn you flip

Zazen

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Zazen Vanessa Veselka Red Lemonade, May 2011 $15.95 257 pages This post was written by Caitlin O’Neil. With the anniversary of the September 11 attacks just a few days past, Zazen isn’t the comforting book you might be seeking. But it is a book that could not have been

Coeur de Lion

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Coeur de Lion Ariana Reines Fence Books, September 2011 $15.95 128 pages Coeur de lion (“lion-heart”) is the brand of cheese pictured in the frontispiece to Ariana Reines’s second book of poetry. More famously, it’s the cognomen of Richard I of England, who also turns up, on page 65. 

A. S. J. Tessimond’s Collected Poems

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Collected Poems A.S.J. Tessimond Bloodaxe Books, November 2010 256 pages $24.95 Wallace Stevens wrote that “The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully.” That mischievous “almost,” of course, can be interpreted in many ways, and poets have always had different attitudes about how much of a fight verses

Wild Coast

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Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge John Gimlette Alfred A. Knopf, June 2011 368 Pages $28.95 This post was written by Luke Epplin. In 2008, British travel writer John Gimlette trekked for months through the countries along South America’s northeastern rim, together known as the Guianas. Wild

The Other Walk

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The Other Walk Sven Birkerts Graywolf Press, 2011 192 pages $15.00 “This morning, going against all convention, I turned right instead of left…” This collection traveled around with me for weeks, bumping along in my bag everywhere I went. I could have read it faster; would have, if I

The Sisters Brothers

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The Sisters Brothers Patrick DeWitt Ecco, April 2011 336 pages $24.99 This post was written by Lisa Peet. If the Western exists to glorify the outsider, then it should be noted that Eli Sisters, narrator of Patrick DeWitt’s terrific The Sisters Brothers, is an outsider several times over. He