Book Reviews Archive

The Best Books for the End of 2015

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  Every year-end ought to be paired with a great book as the weather gets colder. Here’s a list of late fall’s best titles, so grab a copy for yourself and one for a friend, too. The Suicide of Claire Bishop Carmiel Banasky Dzanc Books September 15 $24.95 This

Discovering the Poetry of Yehuda Amichai

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When you’re tired of the same old books but then you discover a new favorite, it’s a major event. It’s like finding liquid water on Mars: wonder and joy and promise where before you’d seen a barren landscape. The big discovery for me this year has been Yehuda Amichai

Review: EXCERPTS FROM A SECRET PROPHECY by Joanna Klink

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Excerpts from a Secret Prophecy Joanna Klink Penguin, 2015 Poetry | $20 80 pages, 6×9 in Buy: Paperback As a stopped clock is right twice a day, so book blurbs are right a few times a year. On the back cover of Joanna Klink’s fourth book, Terrance Hayes declares,

How We Represent: A Review of FOUR FROM JAPAN: CONTEMPORARY POETRY & ESSAYS BY WOMEN

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Four From Japan: Contemporary Poetry & Essays by Women is an anthology rooted in a specific time and place. No, that place is not Japan, nor is it the respective eras from which the four poets emerged. The time and place of which I’m thinking is New York City,

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

Discovering Milton Resnick

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Milton Resnick (1917—2004), was one of the most articulate and interesting of the abstract expressionists. I knew his work, but this past summer I discovered his personal history through a recently completed manuscript, Milton Resnick: Painter in the Age of Painting, by Geoffrey Dorfman, author of the well-received, Out

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

“Sometimes she is a space” : Janice Lee’s Reconsolidation: Or, It’s the ghosts who will answer you

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Taking up the mantel of memory and elegy is no easy task, but Janice Lee’s new book Reconsolidation: Or, it’s the ghosts who will answer you embraces the ghosts. The text is not so much a reflection on writing, loss, memory, and death, but a twisted projection of those