Tag: Book Review

  • The Spirits Talk Back

    A Review of Jesmyn Ward’s Let Us Descend By Wes Byers It started with a few drops of rain. As my wife and I, along with a friend, waited in the packed audience in the courtyard of Baldwin Books in New Orleans for Jesmyn Ward to take the stage, we saw one or two umbrellas…

  • The Song Once More

    A review of Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing by Tom Funk Imagine a world where you know from your early teens that the future holds no bright prospects for you. A world where you cannot hope to rise above the rural subsistence farming of your parents. You have no money. Your schools have been substandard,…

  • There’s No Stopping Time

    A Review of Chris McGinley’s Once These Hills by Ashley Holloway Set in 1898, Chris McGinley’s rural noir saga Once These Hills introduces the reader to life in eastern Kentucky on Black Boar Mountain, a world relatively untouched by modernization. Until things change. Right from the beginning, the reader senses the strength and fierceness of…

  • The Savages of Civilization

    A review of Gabrielle Filteau-Chiba’s Feral by John Yohe Gabriëlle Filteau-Chiba has exploded out of Quebec and into the francophone world in recent years, with a “triptych” of bestselling novels. The first, Encabenée, debuted in 2018, while her third novel Bivouac was published in Quebec in 2021 and France in 2022. The English translation of…

  • Will Rusty Jump?

    A review of Benjamin Drevlow’s The Book of Rusty by James P. Austin This seemingly straightforward question belies the complex meditation on unresolved grief, dead-end contexts, and toxic masculinity that animates Benjamin Drevlow’s novel, The Book of Rusty. The question, as asked, begs an answer: yes or no. As a matter of plotting, the question…

  • The Sixties at the Point of a Gun

    A review of Library of America’s Crime Novels of the 1960s by Frank Vatel In 1997, the Library of America published Crime Novels, a two-volume anthology of noir fiction from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. It was a watershed for the nonprofit, whose backlist of reprinted authors—literary giants like Melville and Twain, statesmen like Jefferson…

  • Radical Softness

    A Book Review of Exodus Oktavia Brownlow’s I’m Afraid That I Know Too Much About Myself Now, To Go Back To Who I Knew Before, And Oh Lord, Who Will I Be After I’ve Known All That I Can?: essays and Look at All the Little Hurts of These Newly-Broken Lives and The Bittersweet, Sweet,…

  • Our Hearts, Hunters All

    A Review of Kelly J. Ford’s The Hunt By Wiley Reiver For all that is lost yearns to be found again, re-made and given back through the finder to itself, speech found for what is not spoken.– William Goyen, The House of Breath Hard on the heels of her two earlier very fine novels, this…

  • Standing Up, Standing By

    A Review of Dawn Major’s The Bystanders by Jon Sokol The bystander effect is a theory describing a syndrome where normally decent people display apathy toward an injustice being perpetrated in front of them, especially in the presence of other people. Their thinking is that surely someone will do something. The unfortunate result is that…

  • A Family Far Afield

    A Review of Michelle Dowd’s Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult by Marlana Botnick Fireman Harsh but preparatory, bohemian but doctrinal. Michelle Dowd’s recently published memoir details her experience growing up in a family cult called The Field, and we discover that aspects of life which might seem at odds are actually far…