Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of Isle of Dogs by Jon Frankel

Isle of Dogs is full of densely plotted, exciting political intrigue and violence. But Frankel is at best when writing about the intimacies of daily life which persevere in this new world–a meal made with food grown at a garden, a woman’s relief at putting a baby to a full breast, a man picking up his child before going to work.

A Review of A Career in Books by Kate Gavino

Gavino’s characters are lived in, relatable, and funny. Their bosses are archetypal, knowable people we have all worked worth (or been). The New York they occupy is similarly vivid, and will likely be familiar to readers who have spent any amount of time in Brooklyn, commuting into the city, or hunting for lunches that cost less than $16. Duck buns anyone? 

A review of Lilies on the Deathbed of Étaín and other poems by Oisin Breen

But it’s serious, deadly serious. Written with care, and with love for language. At first sight, there seems to be something infernally unruly about Oisín Breen’s poetry, until you spot the fact that the structure is there, recognisable but bloody oneiric, lulling you into a false sense of security and then ripping itself up and changing.

A review of Sea Skins by Sophia Wilson

Wilson works every word with the precision of a linguist, drawing out the sounds of words, “The tick-tock knock of one hundred clocks” or “three shells cantering takka tak takka tak”. Alliteration, rhythm, rhyme, parataxis – the poems employ a range of techniques that make them aurally beautiful

A review of Smog Mother by John Wall Barger

The unsayable inevitably finds its way into Smog Mother, not just in fantastic dreams, but in the ugliness of life and death, in the rushing precipices we face and try not to. Barger takes the role of poet to the letter when he lets disaster unfold in his work. You can feel that he barely blinks in the face of this darkness, not because he is unfeeling, but to take it all in.

A review of Oh My Rapture by Gemma White

Hidden amongst all the coarseness and slang words there is gentleness and poignancy, as you read page by page you can feel it. There is a voice impregnated in the words of the poems that are like two forces, forces that propel and repel each other. 

A review of Dug-Up Gun Museum by Matt Donovan

Donovan’s poems, sensitive and unflinchingly brave, pull us through this grisly reality, showing our country’s stubborn and sick fascination with guns, and downright reverence. We are expected to bury our human dead, and accept that guns will be dug-up. Not as relics, but as emblems of American freedom. New guns will be manufactured and purchased every day. Made to do what guns do.

A review of Pipette by Kim Chinquee

According to the Oxford American Dictionary, a pipette is “a slender tube used in a lab for transferring or measuring small quantities of liquids.” In Kim Chinquee’s slim, debut novel Pipette, the author examines a large mixture of themes through the eyes of Elle, a part-time lab technician working in the early days of COVID.