Category: Literary Fiction Reviews

A review of The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane has been touted as Mr. Gaiman’s first book for adults in eight years. True, it does not quite fall into the “All Ages” category that separates his works from “Adult”  because a six-year-old would probably be scarred for life reading (or listening) to the scene where our hero (a seven-year-old boy) is almost drowned in his Safe Place (the bathtub where he reads) by his own father.

A Review of Lifesaving Lessons: Notes From An Accidental Mother By Linda Greenlaw

She survived the storm that claimed the lives of the ill-fated fishing boat Andrea Gail’s crew (the Perfect Storm that inspired the book and film). But nothing prepared her for an even greater challenge—motherhood. Greenlaw chronicles her rapid journey from a self-sufficient, adventurous fisherman to the legal guardian of a teenager in Lifesaving Lessons: Notes from an Accidental Mother.

A review of Elemental By Amanda Curtin

Elemental is an exquisite novel. Every word of it is tightly crafted and pregnant with possibility. It is self-referential and post-modern in the way it undermines time, creating a genetic and emotional link between characters in multiple times and places.

A review of Bluff by Lenore Skomal

Bluff was born from Skomal’s own experience sitting at her gravely ill mother’s bedside, and the frustration, fear and hope all come through in her writing. To her credit, she hasn’t only drawn on this experience in writing Bluff, but has enlisted the advice of health, religious and legal professionals, all of whom are acknowledged.

A review of The Shadow Year by Hannah Richell

It is in this setting that the dual tragedies unfold as each character faces the practical, ethical and moral dilemmas they have inherited from the past. She builds up tension by releasing the story in carefully crafted chapters told from two different perspectives of the events which happen in the two different periods of time.

A review of Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara

The theme that unknown and uncontrollable forces beyond and within oneself determine one’s fate is typical of the “naturalist” school of writers. Among the famous naturalist writers are Emile Zola, Thomas Hardy and Jack London, who show people as biological entities who respond to environmental forces and internal stresses that they do not fully understand and cannot control. O’Hara differs from these earlier naturalist novelists in that he lacks their social conscience, and focuses upon the wealthy, rather than the poor, but his “naturalism” is demonstrated by his blunt style and frank, brutal depiction of human interactions.

A review of Recapture by Erica Olsen

Because of her curation work for archaeology museums, many of her tales feature the study of archaeology although many tend to feature the tedious nature of cleaning artifacts rather than the careful study of a site.

A review of Imaginings: Selected Stories by Dean Warren

Overall, this collection of short stories is quite imaginative and explores many different scientific areas of interest. The stories play with the effect on humanity. They explore changes to our bodies, minds, civilization, relationships and offer looks at different cultures.

A review of Whitstable by Stephen Volk

There’s so much more in this novella, which has the depth and characterization of a novel. As a story it really finishes before the end, but aficionados of Cushing’s films, including Stephen Volk, and I, clearly didn’t want to stop.