Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of The World Was Whole by Fiona Wright

There is so much about the human condition that is illuminated here in these beautifully written pieces.  Wright takes the painful, the personal and the often unbearable frailty of life, and expands it so that the work becomes a celebration of being alive, of human resilience and of the beauty of the everyday.

A review of Women are Like Chickens by Annette Sandoval

The yarn Sandoval spins of their lives, instead, would make an HBO show-runner proud. Death, love, and food are never too far from each other; episodes of powerful yearning, comical justice, and occasional violence replace each other at a cinematic pace.

A review of Reykjavík by Tom Maremaa

What Reykjavík does get absolutely right is the Russian regime’s century-long predilection for poisoning its critics, dissidents and traitors. Arkadi Vaksberg’s meticulous history The Poison Laboratory: From Lenin to Putin (Gallimard) details the state’s expertise at home and abroad in silencing its enemies, all the way from Lenin’s order in 1921 to create a poison laboratory.

A review of The Stendhal Summer by Laurie Levy

The Stendhal Summer takes the risk of being uncomprehended, yet pays us the compliment of presuming we have lived a little. Thus, mentions of Jean-Louis Barrault, Yves Montand, and Louis Malle’s My Dinner with André (1981), to name just a few examples, either mean something to us or they do not. When they do, they conjure a world of meaning, or an image captured in time, or the tone of a conversation. Such resonances are strange and powerful.

A review of Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents

Jeff Herman’s iconic Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents is a well-respected industry standard, much like Writers Market. Now in its 28th Edition, the Guide enjoys continued acclaim and popularity—and there is a good reason for this. Flatly stated, it’s just the one of the best, if not the best, of many (many!) writers’ guides out there.

A Review of Little Reunions by Eileen Chang

Chang’s cool precise descriptions, reminiscent of her great American contemporary Jane Bowles, are spiked by preternatural attentiveness to light and colour, as in an early scene when Julie walks in the campus grounds where, ‘The sun had baked the red flowers in the blue ceramic flower pots, and had transformed them into little black fists, and had bleached the sea to a faded blue, like old blue linen drenched in sweat.‘

A review of Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby

The life of the town centres around the pub, and the way in which the death provides a source for gossip, intrigue and transformation, but also in some respect brings the town together to support one another is charming.  Cedar Valley is immensely readable and progresses in ways that are unpredictable but also smooth and natural.

A review of Atlas of Men by David Sklar

Inspired by these true events and the impact on his life, author David Sklar—an emergency physician, researcher, and professor—writes from the heart and the mind with a broad scope as he tells his story. The author states that he too was subjected to the nude photography and somatotyping as part of a so-called research project while a student at an elite New Hampshire prep school.