Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of The Bookworm by Mitch Silver

I would have to say that Silver’s a romantic as well. In his Author’s Notes he comments that he named his Russian beauty after the blond beauty in the movie Doctor Zhivago. He even has a romantic triangle ending in tragedy, but not as you’d expect. One night I couldn’t sleep for wondering how the book would play out and I named all the characters, using most of the alphabet. There’s four ‘n’ names, though! Will you enjoy The Bookworm? I think so. Very much.

A review of The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst

This novel is more than just another a period piece of fiction. Crowhurst has written an evocative experience: a time-machine back to three and a half centuries ago into a world so unlike the present day that it actually become entangled and is essentially involved in generating our present heritage. This is set in a time before those childhood nursery rhymes were yet to be constructed as political satire and when the Dutch were the current adversary. Mix up the wrong potion and you could be accused of witchcraft.

A review of Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal reads like a story ripped from today’s headlines: a prominent man is accused of sexual harassment. I couldn’t put the book down—I actually felt edgy when I wasn’t reading it, almost like the story was an addiction.

A review of The Arab’s Ox by Tony Ardizzone

Morocco stands for something to each of the characters.  In order to decipher this symbol in their lives, they must look inward. They each arrive at a turning point in which Morocco speaks back to them, helps them discover its meaning to them.  For Henry, Ahmed becomes his guide not only to various Moroccan sites, but to his own mortality.  Rosemary, an American ex-patriate, a grizzled but classy woman, sees her younger self in Sarah and tries to steer her toward a different future. 

A review of The Lucky Galah by Tracy Sorensen

It’s hard to believe that The Lucky Galah is a debut. It’s an ambitious, complex novel full of varying points of view, voices, historical narration, a variety of themes, and all sorts of subtle references, including many literary links and allusions, but the writing is so assured and smooth that these complexities become rich undercurrents that seamlessly integrate into the story rather than digressions.

A review of Incredible Floridas by Stephen Orr

Times and places appear to so often remain in a form of flux throughout this novel, and to help me keep track I began underlining the locations with a yellow highlighter. As for those past decades chosen by Orr, I only have to close my eyes and it all comes back to me as if it were yesterday. Every neighbourhood seemed to have a problem son like Orr’s Hal: the one who started all the fires, or sometimes shot at you with his air rifle, and all too often kicked a neighbour’s garbage tin up and down the street.

A review of False Claims of Colonial Thieves by Charmaine Papertalk Green and John Kinsella

Though the poems stand alone and many have been published in literary journals that way, it’s the dialogue itself where the most important meaning happens. Both poets take on similar subjects of dispossession, occupation, the landscape and ecology, exploitation and historical revisionism. Both poets ultimately situate the work as a search for an identity born out of pain, guilt and suffering, and both respond through the others work to create connection and reconciliation.

A review of Good Neighbors by Joanne Serling

The seven adults in the circle are the most successful members of their families of origin and have more in common with each other than with their relatives. All remember their parents as “hopelessly authoritarian, yet clueless and also uninterested in parenting.” As it turns out, however, one family’s failure at parenting shakes the group to its foundations.

A review of All The Women In My Family Sing edited by ZZ Packer

The stories, poems and essays of this book’s authors are courageous, refreshing and from the heart. We identify and are not strangers to their pain, love, joy, and their uncompromising outcries for justice. They address immigration, brokenness and the turbulent political and social climate we live under today. There are attempts by authors to fill wells of understanding.

A review of She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

This is a professional writer at her best and she is so good at her craft. Joy Fielding slips in many clever additions through her odds and evens chapters that skilfully gel everything together. She also maintains tautness within the dialogue that infects the reader’s curiosity and stays there all the way to an amazing and unexpected conclusion.