Book Reviews

Reviews of books and other forms of literature

Please Step Back by Ben Greenman

Glittery and disco-flashy, but never indulgent, Greenman’s novel is so fluid that one probably won’t pick up on the key changes…

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A Gate At The Stairs by Lorrie Moore, Reviewed

Lorrie Moore A Gate at the Stairs cover

No one who is a fan of Lorrie Moore, or of coming-of-age novels rich in wit and specificity, should resist reading A Gate At The Stairs.

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Ray of the Star by Laird Hunt

Pain is one of the particles forming the novel’s packed core. The story focuses (largely) on graying-haired Harry, a man who once suffered a loss that left his life in shambles.

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Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower

The characters in these stories are all recovering from the demise of a major relationship: a broken marriage, neglectful parents, ungrateful children, lack of sex, sexual abuse, and overall disillusionment with the people closest to them.

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Of Song and Water by Joseph Coulson

Throughout the novel, Coulson’s narration slips fluidly between the perspectives of the three generations of Moore men, jumbling timelines and storylines without much fuss over which parts belong to the present and which to the past.

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One Falling, One Diving: A Review of Michael Greenberg’s Hurry Down Sunshine

The unspoken message seems to be: Reader, be not smug! If it can happen to me, it can, and might, happen to you.

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Gary Lutz’s Stories in the Worst Way

Philip Christman reviews the Calamari Press reissue of Lutz’s 1996 collection

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One D.O.A., One on the Way by Mary Robison

Mary Robison is really fucking good. Still, I approached this new book with skepticism. Trepidation, even. How can a person, I asked myself, Mary Robison or not, pull off a novel-in-fragments twice in one lifetime?

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Review of Paul Pope’s 100%

100% is a love story, after a fashion. Or, more accurately, three loosely connected love stories, all told without so much as a drop of sentimental syrup.

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Free Burning by Bayo Ojikutu

Moments of keen insight are buried beneath the misguided colloquial monologue that occupies the bulk of Free Burning.

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Martian Dawn: Review of Michael Friedman’s Novel

Martian Dawn is Friedman’s first foray into fiction, and his slim novel barely contains the large, preposterous cast of characters.

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Empress by Shan Sa

As the sole woman to occupy a throne at the meeting point of heaven and earth, this extraordinary personage is perhaps a perfect fit for Shan’s grandiose writing style.

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The Week You Weren’t Here by Charles Blackstone

I read The Week You Weren’t Here while getting my nails done. I read it on the taxi ride home, glancing down at the page through patches of streetlight. I read it over dinner until my boyfriend asked me whether the book was good and I had no idea what to say.

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A Temple of Texts: Essays by William H. Gass

Throughout the book’s 25 essays, Gass is the champion—sometimes joyful, sometimes harsh—of intellectual fitness. For him, reading is a form of aerobics.

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Social Justice Book Reviews: Denis O’Hearn’s Nothing but an Unfinished Song and Nancy Altman’s The Battle for Social Security

Denis O’Hearn’s recent book focuses on the life and death of hunger striker Bobby Sands.

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