Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of White Houses by Amy Bloom

Naturally Lorena is subjective, althought historians have written that Franklin’s affability and charm hid a selfish, determined core. One must remember that he was coping with a disability and deteriorating health while pulling his country out of a depression, then leading it through a world war. As Doris Kearns Goodwin shows in her non-fiction work, No Ordinary Time, Eleanor played a vital role during these national crises. 

A review of The Boulevard Trial by Stephanie Laterza

In clear, often compelling prose, Stephanie Laterza’s debut novel, The Boulevard Trial, offers us a contemporary story of moral dilemmas, confused intentions and missed connections that frequently result in disappointing resolutions and, at times, even tragic consequences. The traumas of the novel’s characters bleed into their ongoing personal experiences like an unchecked, gaping wound.

A review of ​Cubist States of Mind/Not the Cruelest Month​ by Marc Jampole

If anything is consistent throughout Jampole’s work, it is its semiotic density. ​Cubist States of Mind/Not the Cruelest Month​ can feel like a lightning-quick read from cover-to-cover-to-cover, but begs to be re-read. The moment one closes the book, one has the peculiar sensation of having read it years ago, its contents so intricately layered that memory alone can only render the broad strokes.

A review of Tiny Shoes Dancing by Audrey Kalman

Kalman’s courage in tackling difficult subjects (unplanned pregnancy, psoriasis, adultery, anorexia, autism, depression and death) her gift for language, and her understanding of human nature make Tiny Feet Dancing a book to keep and reread.

A review of Broken Ground by Steve Armstrong

Broken Ground is a wonderful collection, deeply rooted in the natural world: in stone, eucalypt, “mounds of spinifex”, and above all, in an exploration of how life is created though language, recollection, in the precision of our natural world, and above all in the connections that we build over the short space of our lives.

A review of Black Queen White City by Sonya Kudei

Trams. Cats. Circles. We are immediately alerted by these allusions to Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita (1966) that we should expect the unexpected in Black Queen White City, an ambitious novel that aspires to paint its own universe (no less) by means of framing devices, parallel worlds and an eccentric cast of characters that includes the white city of Zagreb itself, where the author was born.

A Review of In Exile from St Petersburg adapted and edited by Michael Atherton

In Exile from Petersburg takes you right into the life of a high calibre intellectual named Abram Saulovich Kagan and is set within the turbulent times of early 20th century Europe. His son Anatol Abramovich Kagan contributed to this informative biographical account, he also happened to be the father-in-law of the book’s editor, Michael Atherton. This book is well presented in an easy to read and informative style.

A review of Waiting for You at Midnight by Vicki Salloum

Salloum bravely brings the reader into her fictional psychological and experienced discomfort zone. We follow Arabella into crowded AA meetings, observing frightening declarations, addiction denials and relationship failures. We watch as her broken heart bleeds, and all the while continually hope and pray for Arabella’s redemption. 

A review of Rail by Kai Carlson-Wee

Kai Carlson-Wee’s debut book Rail embarks on a never-ending journey that montages places in his life, from a freight train to apartments to highways to skate parks to the rolling hills of the prairie to a dumpster. At the heart of the narrative, Carlson-Wee discusses life on the road, spiritual poverty, addiction, liminal spaces, and the erasure of America’s past.

A review of The Things We Can’t Undo by Gabrielle Reid

Reid’s informative depiction of one such episode should become essential reading within the national high school curriculum and would also provide a great foundation for supervised classroom discussion groups exploring these issues and the consequences of such actions.