Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of The Choke by Sofie Laguna

As has become something of a trademark for Laguna, Justine’s voice forms the narrative backdrop for the book. It’s an extraordinary combination of naïve, descriptive, and poetically dense, driving the reader through a story often harrowing and dark, but always with a sense of discovery.

A review of Be Still the Water by Karen Emilson

Be Still the Water is full of nuance, small moments that add dimension to the larger story. It’s the story of a family and how that family helped to build a community in a brand-new place. It’s the story of a young girl and how she was the anchor of her family in so many ways.

A review of LopLop in a Red City by Kenneth Pobo

The flight motif is also apparent and points to the necessity of progress (as in becoming a better self). This advice at first glance is self-evident, something that we all, or most of us, already know. But there is depth to Pobo’s poetry and that is why it is worth subsequent glances.

A review of The Museum of Words by Georgia Blain

The Museum of Words is a story about language and how it’s able to move between and beyond the constriction of time. At one point, Blain talks about the light coming in – a dawning awareness of the privilege of life.  In this The Museum of Words is a universal story which encompasses all of our frailty and impending demise and encourages all of us to be grateful for the little time we have.

A review of The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy

Percy’s skill as a novelist shines throughout The Dark Net. Each of his quirky, yet believable, characters are given interesting backgrounds and compelling motivations. The story is fast-paced, action-packed, and—at more junctures than I could count—intense to a delightfully uncomfortable degree.

A review of A Miscellany of Diverse Things by Philip Kobylarz

Many of the poems in the collection challenge the identity of the object in question. A loaf of bread becomes spies wearing raincoats, soap becomes dirty, and maps become the very cause of being lost. The dichotomous nature of the writing allows one to ponder about how the identity of something changes as it finishes its assigned purpose.

A review of Z213: EXIT by Dimitris Lyacos

Dimitris Lyacos’ Z213: EXIT is a revelation. A masterpiece. Distinctly postmodern yet entirely unclassifiable, it is everything and nothing all at once. Despite the myriad references to literature, it is entirely new – I have never read anything like it, and this stunning translation is truly head-spinning.

A review of Datsunland by Stephen Orr

This selection of short stories concluding with the major work “Datsunland” is beautifully written by a literary craftsman. They take the reader through and within the landscape of South Australia’s unique ecosystem, into places tinged and contaminated with saturnine and fateful conclusions. As I searched through the pages I found myself trapped within a boiled down distillation of this state’s home-style miseries and heartbreaks.

A review of The Bookshop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry

Novels about girlhood friends reuniting as adults and reinventing their relationship are always popular. In The Book Shop at Water’s End by Patti Callahan Henry, the “summer sisters” are Bonny and Lainey, now in their fifties, who have kept in touch since their three pre-teen summers at Watersend, South Carolina, in the 1970s. As the story opens, Bonny is about to leave her domineering husband and her job as an Emergency Room doctor in Charleston, SC for a better position in Atlanta, GA.