Category: Reviews

Review: War of the Foxes

The War of the Foxes, by Richard Siken Review by William Fargason     After the success of his first book of poetry, Crush, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets prize in 2004, Richard Siken stayed quiet. He waited ten years before releasing his second book War of the Foxes in 2015. Now that we have his second…

Review: The Committee on Town Happiness

Review by Emily Faison   “Had the edge moved in the night?” “Where did the balloon go?” “How do you measure happiness?” Ninety-nine brief stories ask more questions than they answer. Narrated by a mysteriously collective We, Alan Michael Parker’s The Committee on Town Happiness questions and redefines the meaning of community. Nearly every chapter is written in third person…

Review: Charles D’Ambrosio’s Loitering: New & Collected Essays

Review by Gary Sheppard   In Loitering: New & Collected Essays, Charles D’Ambrosio’s first book in eight years, we encounter the same masterly attentiveness to the complexities of language and memory that many readers and writers, too long in the know about this guy, have come to expect from D’Ambrosio’s probably more well known short fiction. A professor of Fiction…

Review: Ron Salutsky’s Romeo Bones

Review by Laura Minor  The innocence and desire for love in a first book—I’ll never get over it. There is an intimacy in trusting someone’s imaginative leaps for the first time. In Ron Salutsky’s Romeo Bones, one longs for escape in a world pinned down by maps, loss, love, and sobriety. The self-deprecating is comforting in Salutsky’s world, in the…

Review: A Wilderness of Monkeys

The title of David Kirby’s collection appears to indict humankind. Is Kirby insulting the reader? Are we implicated in some grand conspiracy of dunces? The leaflet page quotes Shylock from The Merchant of Venice: “I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys.” Shylock’s daughter Jessica, in addition to squandering her father’s money, traded her mother’s turquoise ring…

Review: The Lady from Tel Aviv

The Lady from Tel Aviv by Raba’i al-Madhoun Raba’i al-Madhoun’s novel, The Lady from Tel Aviv (shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction), articulates several human experiences: displacement, homecoming, family reunion, heritage, romance, warfare, terror, and cultural barriers. It is a short novel, but in its few pages it has quite a bit to say about all of these…

Review: Paris Twilight

Paris Twilight by Russ Rymer Reviewed by Gabrielle Bellot The allure of Paris for certain Americans is a phenomenon well-known-enough by now to be a kind of American cultural meme, one dating back long before the nineteenth century—and one that keeps cropping up in this century. There is, for instance, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris—a name Russ Rymer’s first novel…

Review: Fourth City

Fourth City: Essays From the Prison in America by Doran Larson Reviewed by Dyan Neary If the mark of a democracy were determined by how a nation treats its prisoners, the United States would certainly be among the most tyrannical systems of government in the world. In Fourth City: Essays From the Prison in America, Doran Larson has compiled several…

Review: Chain Link Fence

Chain Link Fence, poems by Patti White Reviewed by Brent House   As a child growing up in South Mississippi, I was given the chore of plucking the fascicles of pine needles that had fallen into the zigzag of the chain link fence surrounding our family home; so, on Saturday mornings after late-summer storms, I carried a small metal bucket to…

Review: Fourteen Stories, None of Them Are Yours

Fourteen Stories, None Of Them Are Yours, a novel by Luke B. Goebel, Fiction Collective 2 Reviewed by Gary Sheppard   In this too-brief debut novel-in-stories, “Fourteen Stories, None Of Them Are Yours,” Luke B. Goebel’s first-person narrator is raucously heartbreaking as he finds his way through his grief over the loss of his older brother Carl and the leaving…