Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of River Aria by Joan Schweighardt

River Aria is an exquisitely written conclusion to the Rivers trio. Schweighardt creates rich layers of meaning through the three books, across settings that are sometimes sumptuous and sometimes desolate, but always rich in psychology, history, drama, theatre, and a very subtle political thread that hints at the power of compassion.

A review of Rebel Cinderella by Adam Hochschild

While Rose’s story grabs reader  attention, Hochschild’s book is compelling because he tells a bigger story. He shows us the gap between rich and poor during the Gilded Age and the early 20th century and educates  readers in a lucid and accessible sty le about early struggles for a fairer, kinder society.

A review of Split, edited by Lee Kofman

All of the pieces are powerful, richly depicted, allowing the reader access to the very core of transition. Kofman has a well-tuned sense of what works together and the pieces flow together perfectly, each essay informing the work that surrounds it, so that the overall book feels interlinked. It makes for engaging reading that is emotionally powerful throughout. 

A review of 125 Rus by Ana Efimenko

If you’re a Dostoevskian existentialist, an armchair philosopher, or just interested in international indie writing, 125 Rus is for you. Just don’t forget yourself reading it!

A review of The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke

From the day of early childhood to the teenage years, Clarke consistently takes moments of her life, interrogates them, and gives them a certain form of literary justice. I wouldn’t say a poetic justice, because Clarke isn’t trying to write poetically. She is giving a record of what it means to be born as a foreigner in your own country, and the existential challenges which come throughout.

A review of Black Rabbit by Angus Gaunt

There are multiple ways to read Black Rabbit, and the reader is invited to take part in the meaning making in a way that is very open. You can imagine Maurice’s arc in multiple ways. However you choose to interpret it, Black Rabbit is a terrific read, full of unpredictable twists, well-drawn characters and an unforgettable narrative.

A review of Catastroika by Charles Rammelkamp

If you, my reader, like history and poetry you will love Catastroika, a fascinating book in which the poet, in narrative form, covers a century on Russian history from the point of view of two characters: Maria Rasputin, the daughter of the much maligned Russian spiritualist Rasputin and Alexander Federmesser, a Jewish man who goes by the name of Sasha. 

A review of Old Lovegood Girls by Gail Godwin

Expertly, Godwin dropped hints that another story lay beneath the surface one. Similarly, the secrets in Old Lovegood Girls, revealed in enticing dribs and drabs, keep the reader intrigued. What actually transpired between Feron and the passenger on the bus when she ran away in 1958? Was it really seasonal depression that caused Merry’s mother to withdraw to her attic room in winter?

A review of The Shaman of Turtle Valley by Clifford Garstang

Reading Garstang’s The Shaman of Turtle Valley brought to mind two very different novels. Ill Will by Dan Chaon for the way it dissects American violence DNA. And The Border of Paradise by Esme Weijun Wang for exploring the cost of when a decent but oblivious American man brings back an Asian wife and settles down in a non-Urban environment. But Garstang’s net is cast wider with an eye to tie domestic issues with foreign policy.