In the midst of narratives preoccupied with decay and disease, Glick’s language is vibrant, even magical, and often humorous in its treatment of youthful yearning and cynicism. The author flexes a talent for poetic prose especially in “Mermaid Anatomy,” which is narrated by a young man on vacation from Holland who plays hide-and-seek with a girl he meets at his hostel.
The theme of wounds in this collection relates principally to issues and disappointments regarding reproduction. Seven of the eleven stories in the collection have to do with infertility, wanted and unwanted pregnancies, life with small children and the hard decisions parents must make. Readers who have these concerns will find What Shines from It particularly meaningful.
To write a novel so replete with historical and geographic information requires both research ability and personal experience. Author Katalin Kennedy, a graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa, is a Canadian of Hungarian background who took many coach tours with her husband over a forty year period, seeing much of Britain and continental Europe.
Paromita Sengupta’s “Editorial Notes on the Text” as well as “Bibliography” help us understand the text better and stir our desire to know the life and times of the protagonist, Bany Lall, and like-minded youths thoroughly. It is a must read for every Bengalee, nay Indian, who would love to trace the history of the times, seemingly past and lost in the abyss of time.
Kate’s trajectory is one of discomfort and discovery as she unearths, and then rewrites her history and the history of Salt Pan Creek, facing the wrongs she and her people, including her own parents, have done, and attempting to right them. McFarland does a beautiful job of pulling history, fiction, multiple love stories and trauma together into a coherent narrative that is powerful.
The Weekend is about so many things: preconceptions, societal norms, continuity and difference, about the self and about relationships, but most particularly about friendship and what it means to be both separate individuals in this world throughout life changes, and also the ways in which we are implicitly connected and collective.
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.
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.
The book is fast paced, consistently engaging, and is often very funny. It comes across as light and easy, but amidst the intriguing mix of Vivian’s self-deprecation and self-aggrandisement there are serious themes in the book. The key one is the relationship between female desire and male aggression. The book subtly but powerful explores the way in which women are both diminished by the men around them and the ways in which they retain and reclaim power.