Category: Literary Fiction Reviews

A Cottonmouth with a Laptop: A review of Stay Gone Days by Steve Yarbrough

Some forty years ago, in Jackson, not far Loring, a similar bottle of Four Roses was opened. It’s a significant detail in this story of the Cole sisters, that ends where it began, that comes full circle, with many detours along the way. Individuals, with marked differences, both sisters are resilient, vulnerable, and passionate, characters so life-like a reader feels “the air making contact with their skin.”

A review of This Place That Place By Nandita Dinesh

With a novel this boldly experimental, it is hard to get very far in a discussion of influences without Beckett’s name coming up. But that is just one of the names in a diverse stew. Dinesh said that Beckett and others represent some of the less conscious influences here, and other visionaries more directly inspired the themes, tone, and style of This Place That Place.

A review of Torohill by Donna Reis

In her new book of poems, Torohill, Reis revisits her past in a very human way that is intensely reflective, sometimes brutally stark, and often quite humorous. If comedy is just the other face of tragedy, then our catharsis lies within the synthesis of both. Reis knows this instinctively and expertly weaves both through her poems. It renders them remarkably touching but not in a saccharin or intentional manner. She allows feelings to vacillate and often startle and surprise us organically and authentically.

New giveaway!

We have a copy of Moonstone Hero by David Sklar to give away!

To win, sign up for our Free Newsletter on the right-hand side of the site and enter via the newsletter. Winner will be chosen by the end of October from subscribers who enter via the newsletter. Good luck!

A review of The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty

But don’t read Hutch for the plot, read it for the language–seductive, entertaining and leading readers wonderfully astray. Insert your own line breaks and it can at times read like poetry, or a game of word pick up sticks. A throw away character is “a wonky Christian philanthropist—now a resident of Quebec.” The effect of Gunty’s linguistic pile ons are like a Wes Anderson movie.

Great new giveaway

We have a copy of The Absurd Rules of Life by Raul Gallardo Flores to give away!

To win, sign up for our Free Newsletter on the right-hand side of the site and enter via the newsletter. Winner will be chosen by the end of September from subscribers who enter via the newsletter. Good luck!

A review of The Circle That Fits by Kevin Lichty

In a vignette-based narrative that takes us from Daniel’s childhood through early adulthood, we find moments of surrealism amid vivid violence within a delicate, rhythmic language that supports the wonder and naivety of the narrator. Daniel’s first circle is drawn by his father, a literal circle in the soil his father says is “all the room you have now” and forms a boundary on his grief after his mother leaves the family.

New giveaway!

We have a copy of Valley of Shadows by Rudy Ruiz to give away!

To win, sign up for our Free Newsletter on the right-hand side of the site and enter via the newsletter. Winner will be chosen by the end of September from subscribers who enter via the newsletter. Good luck!

A review of Pentimento by Daniel Ionita

There are angels, demons, Death with a capital D, a plot against Santa Claus, and potato salad, all playing off one another with exuberance. Though occasionally confronting, Pentimento is a charming, inventive, smart and slightly audacious collection that will delight all but the most squeamish readers.  

A review of In The Roar of the Machine by Zheng Xiaoqiong

The poet skilfully describes how youth and dreams are lost quickly as the result of hard work, becoming part of the machine: “I see myself resembling this cast iron.”  Iron is in her hands, in her mind, in her verses, iron controls her life.  Anonymity, monotony, boredom, pain and exploitation are observed with poetic care; politics into poetry.