Reviews

Review: The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

by Shaun McMichael October 1, 2019

The Nickel Boys Colson Whitehead Doubleday, 2019 Colson Whitehead’s ninth novel deserves all the hype. Though it’s many things—a bildungsroman, a modern slave narrative—it’s first and foremost great fiction with the artifice of a suspenseful plot and a twist-ending. Whitehead uses these elements to explore themes of moral development and identity in the crucible of […]

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Review: The Not Wives by Carley Moore

by Bridget Bradshaw August 16, 2019

The Not Wives by Carley Moore is a personal look into the lives of three women living in New York City during the time of Occupy Wall Street. Told through three alternating points of view, the story mainly follows Stevie, a soon-to-be divorced professor, as she navigates dating, protesting, and being a mother.  We enter […]

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Review: Fly Already by Etgar Keret

by Bridget Bradshaw July 22, 2019

“Fly Already” by Etgar Keret is a book full of contradictions. Composed of twenty-two short stories, Keret explores topics ranging from mundane to unsettling, no two stories exactly alike. Some deal with topics that could loosely be put under the umbrella of science fiction, others are just about interpersonal relationships and how they can sometimes […]

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Review: Gravity is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty

by Bridget Bradshaw June 22, 2019

Gravity is the Thing is a novel by Jaclyn Moriarty that follows Abi Sorenson, a woman whose life changes drastically on the days preceding her sixteenth birthday for two reasons. The first is that her brother and closest confidant, Robert, disappears. The second is that she receives the first of many chapters from The Guidebook, […]

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Review: The Outer Cape by Patrick Dacey

by Tyson Duffy April 16, 2017
Dacey

The Outer Cape by Patrick Dacey Henry Holt & Co., June 20, 2017 First, a little trivia. See if you can guess which canonized American literary heavyweight wrote this gem: Amory selected a blade of grass and nibbled at it scientifically. “I never fall in love in August or September,” he proffered. “When then?” “Christmas […]

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Review: Chapbooks– Beautifully Whole & Badass

by Lee Gulyas March 24, 2016

Years ago, in a bar, talking about poetry, a friend of mine said, “Poetry. What do you do with that? I guess you could always write chapbooks.” Things have changed since then, and chapbooks (usually fewer than 30 pages of poetry) are not just plentiful, but proliferating. See chapbooks from Tupelo Press, Sarabande (authors Louise […]

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Review: The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud

by Shaun McMichael October 26, 2015
Mersault

The Meursault Investigation by Kamel Daoud Other Press, 2015 Kamel Daoud’s debut novel is a relentless reply to Camus’ The Stranger. It’s told from the perspective of the murdered Algerian’s younger brother, Harun, now an old man. A young Algerian, presumably a stand in for the author, has pinned down the old man in one […]

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Review: The Cartographer’s Ink

by Lee Gulyas March 10, 2015

The Cartographer’s Ink Okla Elliott NYQ Books 2014 Gilles Deleuze wrote: “Writing has nothing to do with meaning. It has to do with landsurveying and cartography, including the mapping of countries yet to come.” This is the quote that came to me as I read Okla Elliott’s “The Cartographer’s Ink.” We begin with an invitation […]

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Review: Curse of an Addict — Zanzibar

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein July 23, 2014
curseofaddict

Curse of An Addict—Zanzibar Director: Lovinsa Kavuma UK/Uganda, 2014 It’s been a month since I was first introduced to Seif and I can’t get him out of mind. Seif was a heroin addict who lived in Stone Town, Zanzibar, and I ‘met’ him through a harrowing short documentary about his life called Curse of an […]

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Flying Paper: a film review

by Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein December 9, 2013
flying paper

I recently watched a screening of the feature-length documentary film Flying Paper, directed by Nitin Sawhney and Roger Hill, at the Downtown Islamic Center in Chicago. Today I’m thinking about people around the world trapped in political nightmares and ideological wars waged beyond anyone’s reach. I’m also thinking about what the arts can do to […]

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Review: A Self Made of Words

by Jeff McMahon October 14, 2013
Klaus

A Self Made of Words by Carl H. Klaus Iowa, 2013 Recently a Buddhist acquaintance suggested I read Simone Weil because of her work on attention. She writes, for example, that “Absolute undivided attention is prayer,” which lends a Buddhist flavor to her Judeo-Christian theology. Attention can be aimed at anything, after all, not necessarily […]

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Review: In The House Upon The Dirt…

by Frances Badgett July 21, 2013
Matt Bell In The House

In The House Upon The Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods by Matt Bell Soho Press 2013 Matt Bell’s In The House lingers, even as you finish it and walk away. It collects and gathers like a storm, and explodes into wild proportions. It is a painful novel, full of effort and blood. The […]

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Review: Burn This House

by Lee Gulyas July 3, 2013
Davio

Burn This House Kelly Davio Red Hen Press 2013 Burn or bless? What’s the difference? Why do prayers contain echoes of threats and how do sin and virtue intertwine? These are questions you will find yourself asking as the narrator wanders through darkness lit by moon and lamplight, pierced by the scream of a barn […]

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Review: The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction

by Lee Gulyas January 4, 2013

The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction Edited by Dinty Moore Rose Metal Press 2012 It is refreshing to open a nonfiction craft book that does not begin with an apology. Editor Dinty Moore delves right into a discussion of what is possible when writing “flash” literary nonfiction, “memoir, essay, and factual […]

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Review: To Waken Is To Begin

by Lee Gulyas December 8, 2012

To Waken is to Begin by Melanie Faith Aldrich Press 2012 The first poem in this debut collection opens with a bridesmaid’s dress, and in the next we imagine the size and promise of a fetus at eleven weeks. Melanie Faith’s book considers many rites of passage: weddings, pregnancy, a grandmother’s death, cancer. Faith also […]

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