A Superior Spectre is deftly constructed piece of literature. It sits shoulder-to-shoulder with some of the greats. Thematically it is a worthy companion-piece to Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve. Structurally it folds like the origami of Italio Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler, and Jennifer Egan’s The Keep. Stylistically it employs some of the fuzzy voice of China Mieville’s This Census Taker, where the who and when of the narrator becomes blended and circular.
Blackford’s prose is silky smooth and the book reads quickly, driven by its fantasy narrative and the way in which historical detail is covered. Though the story has paranormal overtones, shifting as it does between the two timeframes, and the shapeshifting villain and ghosts that move between the worlds, The Girl in the Mirror is relevant to a 21st century reader.
In Ivory, Goldstein has created a place that exists only on its own terms. There is no bridge or overlap; Ivy’s different lives exist side by side. She moves from one to the other with little effort because no effort is necessary. Ivy is able to deal with the chaos that comes with the talent attractive to a muse.
Loss and grief are rooted in a large part of the Haitian diaspora identity and manifests both overtly and covertly throughout these stories. Danticat is meticulous in her writing about Haiti and its people’s complex relationship with the U.S. In each character’s search for a better life, she magnifies the usually unexplored grief that comes with years of generational trauma and migration.
Like a scientist of existential torment, with a Ph.D. in Angst Studies, Francine Witte spells out the origins of regret, heartbreak and loss in this comprehensive, tender collection of poems.
There is so much to explore in this wonderful collection: work that stretches the imagination, plays with language, time, and space in order to explore human endeavour, both scientific and artistic – and in many cases the distinction becomes blurred. Strange and Munden have done an exceptional job choosing and structuring poems.
Not many writers could pull off such a diffuse structure but Smith does it beautifully, using her poetic vernacular and pulling the reader in so tightly, we begin to think and perceive in Smith’s fragmentary, hallucinogenic way. The result is strangely exhilarating.
Birnbaum, a CODA himself, loves florid, beautiful, language. Perhaps being a hearing child of Deaf parents channeled his talents to the written page more readily than to a spoken art? Some well-turned sentences are spot on: “Matthew was a walking gerund, always stating things that could’ve just been done in the first place” personifies the unity of word and action by using its difference.
The poems in this collection cover many areas from the personal to the general, from the subjective to the concrete; they linger through very effective image making. Kiely poetry is clever and accessible and her ideas flow in sensory experiences. The writing is confident in range and depth. The poems are rich in veiled feelings, sometimes coloured by banalities and others tainted with pain and nostalgia.
Carol Smallwood is to be praised for her skill, perspective, and philosophy over a wide poetic range. Hers is a unique set of senses, capturing sights, sounds, moments, and observations of the everyday world in such a manner that causes the reader to see what is all around him in a fresh, new way.