Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of Castilian Blues by Antonio Gamoneda 

Castilian Blues, originally written in the 1960s and unpublished for political reasons until 1982, confronts the reader with the position of Gamoneda’s personal and intimate experience as a worker during the Franco dictatorship. The suffering of the people is the leitmotif of the whole book, revived with literary images that evoke spiritual and musical effects.

A review of Free Rose Light by Mary O’Connor

Mary O’Connor may have made her career as an architect, but her debut book shows her to be one heck of a writer.  Her prose is tight, well-paced, and often exquisite. She balances fact and emotion with perfect precision, using a blend of memoir, reportage, biography, and social history to make Free Rose Light a rich and creative book that is both about its subject and transcendent. 

A review of Take Care by Eunice Andrada

Within the seventy one pages, Andrada delves (as she characteristically does) straight to the heart of what it means to be a young woman of diaspora, in a system bound to the prevailing iniquity of colonialism, which is ‘a structure, not an event’. In so doing, her poetry illustrates the attention, work and ‘care’ that urgently needs to be taken at a personal and structural level to avoid perpetuating this juggernaut of harm. Interspersed with poems that at once depict crisis and inspire bravery,

A review of The Counsel of the Cunning by Steven C. Harms

A complex, imaginative novel, The Counsel of the Cunningby Steven C. Harms, offers readers international thriller pacing combined with the precision of a police procedural and just the right gloss of mad scientist. It opens with a howler monkey and a kidnapped scientist, and it never slows down or lets up from there as the characters—good and bad—travel through vast landscapes and much danger. Broad in scope, the story is a bold adventure with harrowing interludes in which the prevailing question seems to be “what exactly is going on here?”

Great giveaway

We have a copy of What If We Were Somewhere Else by Wendy J Fox to give away! To win, sign up for our Free Newsletter on the right-hand side of the site and enter via the newsletter. Winner will be chosen by the end of October from subscribers who enter via the newsletter. Good luck!

A review of Planetary Motions by William Seaton

Poetic truth is as open to interpretation as the movements of the planets. We add our own perceptions and perturbations which are subject to the fragmentations of an ultimately unknowable universe. Seaton accepts this and continues on his international travels with a universal perspective. He is now inter-galactic in his observations, pulling us out into the cosmos from our earth-tethered and more insular points of view. As a fully integrated inhabitant of the world, he has the weight of history in his pocket and cosmic, unbounded access. He seeks not to answer questions but to keep asking them.

A review of Come the Bones by KA Rees

The book has an eco-poetic quality, immersed in nature which is both subject and object – not as something ‘other’ but as an inherent part of the same life. The ocean where the “sea mist rolls/and the tide folds in” is  a critical part of this book, but other habitats too—the forest with its spiders and caterpillars or the city streets with cockatoos and miscreants.  From a raindrop to the universe, the work moves through the micro to the macro and as it becomes clear that these are part of a single, unified system

The Hubris Of An Empty Hand by Mahyar A. Amouzegar

Amouzegar has this fantastic manner of urging his reader to put their “ear to the wall.” He constantly lures you in, requesting that you listen closely, that you read carefully, and that you ask questions. His gift of narration is dangerously cunning as well. Between and within his stories, he experiments with points of view, using narrative gymnastics to capture the most alluring perspective. Amouzegar holds the secrets close to the chest, withholding them until three chapters later, and or even indefinitely.

A review of Watched and other stories by Carol Chandler

Each story is a slice of life where the reader enters places and into the mind of the characters.  The characters are well developed, intriguing and mysterious, some live at the margin and others think at the margin. The plots are neat and compact with good time and pacing demonstrating the skills of the writer.

A review of We’re Doomed! by Scott Erickson

If the author had written the book as a “serious exploration,” would it have made any difference? The answer is: probably not. Plenty of other serious books have been written, which are making little or no difference. And they aren’t touching the roots of the problem. So why write a serious book that nobody would take seriously?