Book Reviews

A Brave Man Seven Storeys Tall by Will Chancellor

Brave Man

A Brave Man certainly shares ideas with William Gaddis’ masterpiece The Recognitions, as well as Thomas Pynchon’s V.: the relentless and manic appearance of coincidence, the skewering of the latest art scene and inevitable hanger-ons, and ultimately the questioning of what truly constitutes art.

Inside Madeleine by Paula Bomer

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It might be best to imagine Bomer’s characters as moths endlessly flying toward the flickering blue neon light of a bug-zapper. Desire inevitably leads to futility.

Animals in Motion by David Ryan

Animals in Motion

Why this is worth mentioning right off is because of how defiant, challenging, wandering, and against grain the stories in David Ryan’s collection are; they possess equal parts quirk and depth—and these are the same attributes necessary for a printing press in our current market to maintain.

Short Century by David Burr Gerrard

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At times, this tension between the personal and the political becomes uncomfortable, giving Short Century the feeling of a truly fantastic family saga trapped inside a slightly turgid political memoir.

The Literature Express By Lasha Bugadze

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The Literature Express is at its best when embracing the literary cacophony of its setting. The characters and their furious battle to out-do one another professionally gives the book its bleak humor, and a degree of uneasy edge.

Journey to Karabakh By Aka Morchiladze

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Away from his father, away from Yana, away from the social codes that have governed his life in Tbilisi, Giorgi finds in Karabakh something not unlike inner peace.

Young God by Katherine Faw Morris

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Now, the buzz is drawing comparisons to Denis Johnson and, largely, Flannery O’Connor: stark, effusive, violent, seminal writers. Though after finishing Morris’s debut, I find I’m only struck to agree with this likening in its broadest possible sense, almost to a degree that their connections are contextual, and not what is drawn out of the writing.

Harlequin’s Millions by Bohumil Hrabal

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Entering the most recent English translation of Hrabal’s work, it’s important to realize what it means to have a beautiful sentence exist, even when it doesn’t whet.

War! What Is It Good For? by Ian Morris

WAR!

If I said that war is what brought humanity peace and prosperity, you’d probably say I’m either crazy or a military-industry-funded Republican. Yet that’s the exact premise of Ian Morris’s new book, War! What Is It Good For?

Mount Terminus by David Grand

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Following the death of his wife, Jacob Rosenbloom, veritable inventor of the film projector, moves his son from New York to California in an outward move of grief. Yet, along the way, Bloom, a sharply inquisitive, twelve-year-old, accounts the manner in which the two have been followed, their entire journey, by three looming figures, and he begins to understand it’s not only grief that has motivated his father.

Long Man by Amy Greene

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As we move further into its rather speedy 270 pages, and narrow into the actions of short fiction, Greene not only redeems, but outdoes all expectations. The aspects that seem long oncoming offer sensational reward, the very kind that readers who give up early often miss out on.

Vernon Downs by Jaime Clarke

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There are many attempts to write something original, or offbeat, in the trends of literary fiction. These attempts include insular references, experimental sectioning, pictographs, and so on, but a good writer can always achieve something original in linear form. Vernon Downs is eccentrically original, and it may not even be a book I like.

Quesadillas by Juan Pablo Villalobos

Quesadilla

Villalobos turns his sharp wit to throwing mud at election fraud, real estate fraud, and the corrupt system that enables the rich ruling class to take advantage of the poor in Mexico, “a country eternally organized around fraud.”

The Unamericans by Molly Antopol

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In this beguiling collection – which is far-ranging yet cohesive – Antopol is looking instead at the basic human need to belong to something or someone, to find one’s place in a continuum, be it familial, historical, or both.

Mira Corpora by Jeff Jackson

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In Mira Corpora, Jeff Jackson’s remarkable nightmarish fugue of a novel, the novel itself becomes the exemplification of the writer’s routine.

The Circle by Dave Eggers

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While the Circle prides itself on turning over every stone, answering any matter of question without regard to utility, the question we find as readers is: what do we need?