Book Reviews Archive

The Variations

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews No comments
The Variations John Donatich Henry Holt & Co., February 2012 288 Pages $25.00 One notable fact about John Donatich’s protagonist in The Variations, a priest named Dominic, is that the narration never refers to him as “Father.” His elderly mentor, Father Carl, is always given proper accreditation, but Dominic

Women in Trouble: Clover Adams

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews No comments
Clover Adams: A Gilded and Heartbreaking Life Natalie Dykstra Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, February 2012 336 pages $26.00 Clover Adams, best known as the genteel and witty wife of nineteenth century writer Henry Adams, was a hobbyist photographer who killed herself at age forty-two by drinking her chemical developer. However,

A Land More Kind Than Home

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews 1 Comment
A Land More Kind Than Home Wiley Cash William Morrow, April 2012 $24.99 320 pages I don’t want to obscure the issue here, so I will be brief: A Land More Kind Than Home is a book you will be excited to read—that is, if you’re still in this

Wonderful Investigations

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews 1 Comment
Wonderful Investigations Dan Beachy-Quick Milkweed Editions, April 2012 212 pages $20 Reading essays by poets is just plain fun. Take Dan Beachy-Quick. Author of five collections of poetry and now a second essay collection, Wonderful Investigations, he writes sentences like, “We must build a wall to find out that

Blurbese: “funny”

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews No comments
Book reviewers’ relationship with the word “funny” is, well—a little funny. I’m somewhat sympathetic about this one, too, at least when it comes to novels that are deliberately comic, because it’s tough to review authors whose reputation is based entirely on humor. What, after all, can the word “funny”

AWP Book Review Contest: The Results!

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews 2 Comments
At AWP this year, we asked bookfair attendees to review a book—any book they liked—in one sentence. We got a lot of creative responses, from five words to fifty-three, from questions to statements to imperatives, and from glowing to critical to cryptic. We also got a lot of semicolons,

Minuet For Guitar

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews No comments
Minuet For Guitar (In Twenty-Five Shots) Vitomil Zupan, trans. Harry Leeming Dalkey Archive, December 2011 400 pages $23.95 Scope: microscopic to galactic Tones: philosophical, dark, sarcastic With: tiny flecks of the bucolic Concerning: Slovenian partisan Berk, fighting in World War II As well as: former German soldier Joseph Bitter,

Dear Dr. Poetry…

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews No comments
The Louisiana Purchase by Jim Goar Rose Metal Press, Nov. 2011 80 pages $15.95 Dear Dr. Poetry, I’ve been a middle school art teacher for twenty years, but thanks to budget cuts, I’ve recently had to begin teaching history, too. I’ve done my best to engage the students, assigning

Lost Classics: The Phantom Carriage

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews 1 Comment
[Editor’s note: Every few months, Akshay Ahuja will dig into the archives for an old book that has either fallen out of favor or never received the recognition it deserves. Feel free to add suggestions for future rediscoveries in the comments.] The Phantom Carriage Selma Lagerlöf Norvik Press, July

Poetry Week: Deep Field

Author: | Categories: Book Reviews No comments
Deep Field Philip Gross Bloodaxe Books, November 2011 64 pages $21.95 Deep Field, by T. S. Eliot Prize-winner Philip Gross, charts the slow loss of the author’s father, John, to aphasia, an irreversible decline in the brain’s language faculties. Gross’s father, who once knew five languages, has lost his