Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of The Homesick Mortician by Peter Mladinic

There is an urgency to this breaking down of line structure, often bridged by run-on thoughts strung together by comma fasteners. It is a compelling style, one that makes the collection very readable at a quick clip. In some cases, as with the first poem, structure reasserts itself at the end with a strong strike upon the bell of reality: “They brought him home.”

A review of The Girl From Moscow by Julia Levitina

Levitina draws on her own experiences growing up in Moscow in the 1980s and the book is rich with verisimilitude, following the trajectory of Ella as her dreams of playing the role of Natasha Rostova from Tolstoy’s War and Peace dissolve into fear and a desperation to leave Moscow to escape the KGB and protect her unborn child.

A review of The Djin Hunters by Nadia Niaz

Nature makes her presence felt in many pages, particularly birds. There is a beautiful poem titled “A Time of Birds” in which we read about the hoopoe with its black-tipped orange crest bobbing against misted grass.

A review of On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

The story begins as a huge flight of monarch butterflies starts their yearly migration to the south. This is a metaphor for Vuong’s migration to America from Vietnam. When the book reaches its final pages, the flight of the monarch butterflies is resumed, and we can see and hear them beating their wings in unison as they continue their journey, many dropping to their deaths en-route.

The Garden Against Time: In Search of a Common Paradise by Olivia Laing

Throughout The Garden Against Time, Laing returns to the concepts of gates and walls: while she sees the need for secrecy, or at least privacy, as having been crucial for the formation of what she calls a queer “counter-state” (213) in the face of oppression, she is well aware that borders and barriers to access are tools of oppression as well.