A review of Clariel by Garth Nix

While it might be tempting to contain the magic of the Old Kingdom series under genre classifications like “fantasy,” or “young adult” fiction, I think it’s fair to say that Nix is a writer whose work goes well beyond genre definitions and edges towards the classic. The work will appeal to readers of all tastes – particularly those who want to be transported into a world richly drawn and exotic, and yet so full of a very human verisimilitude of life, coming-of-age, and loss.

A review of Plus One by Christopher Noxon

Noxon’s gift as character creator compels us to believe in the slightly zany, uber LA Plus One leader of the pack
Huck whose apparent ease with all things, comfort with this moment’s offering appeals to the protagonist, Alex’s character. Marked by a Woody Allen type of insecurity and running commentary of self-doubt Alex emerges as a kind of “all man” in a surprising way.

A Different Mary: An essay on the novel The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin

The reader will immediately recognize the tone of sadness and fear that permeates the text. But there is a niggling sense that there is something missing, of something not being said. It is only after the narrative has advanced a long way, to its end almost, that what is withheld becomes clear: guilt and shame. It is not withheld deliberately from the reader, rather it is something she is hiding from herself with poignant delicacy and tact.

An interview with Patricia Bracewell

The author of The Price of Blood talks about her new book, her title, the attractions and challenges of Emma of Normandy’s story, her extensive research, the appeal of Vikings, her other characters, advice for aspiring writers, her ideal book club, and lots more.

A review of The Moon in the Pool by Gary Metras

Gary Metras’s The Moon in the Pool is a small book that packs a big poetic punch. Metra makes something out of what appears to be nothing at first sight. Mundane items, such as stones or the sight of an old man, serve as inspiration for Metras. It is not surprising, then, that Metras has ten other books under his belt. The Moon in the Pool is the work of a seasoned poet, a writer accustomed to having his way with words. But there is more to these poems; they make us what we already are. In other words, they tap into our shared humanity.

The Rebellion of Miss Lucy Ann Lobdell by William Klaber

Klaber vividly depicts life in untamed Minnesota on the brink of statehood. There, Lobdell lives (as a man) in a shanty town outside St. Paul’s and works in a hotel kitchen. To make more money, he signs on as one of two guards at a land claim at Kandiyoki, in a remote part of the state. He encounters aboriginal people and finds a vast, wolf-haunted snow-covered wilderness with game to hunt.

An interview with Stewart O’Nan

The author of West of Sunset talks about his new novel and why it was a novel instead of a bio, his attraction to F. Scott Fitzgerald, how he you developed his ear for Algonquin-style repartee, the paradox of the alcoholic, his greatest challenges, on Los Angeles, Hollywood, and lots more.

A review of Alterworld by Philip Salom

Woven throughout these poems is so much music, art, myth, magic, politics, and even the domestic, in such a silky and natural interplay, that it is possible to read them over and over, uncovering a little more each time. Though I think that each of the books is powerful in itself, having these three together creates a far grander picture, where each poem is informed by, changed, and strengthened by those around it. So we understand this imaginative work to be a multiverse, rich with hell and heaven together, and also our daily struggles – love, death, desire, and loss.