Told from many different points of view Peter Grandbois’s stunning new novel Nahoonkara is the story of brothers and husbands and wives and children and women and men and mothers all striving to find a place for themselves in a world which is sometimes puzzling to them. On the surface, the story takes place mainly in Wisconsin and a mining town in Colorado, but … Read More Nahoonkara by Peter Grandbois
Bad Marie is a bad influence. I say this because while reading Marcy Dermansky’s second novel, Bad Marie, I was driven to do something that I, as a mother of a small, active child, never do anymore–and that is stay up past 11PM reading, which should tell you something about how engrossing this novel is if even an exhausted mother will stay up late … Read More Bad Marie, by Marcy Dermansky
On the surface, you might consider Benjamin Percy’s chillingly brilliant new novel The Wilding to be a classic tale of man vs. nature. Scratch beneath the surface, and you will find that man’s biggest fear is not the beast without, rather it is the beast within. Commonly, we understand frontier times (and consequently the literature of that time) to be about (white) human beings … Read More The Wilding, by Benjamin Percy
I am extremely fortunate to have received an advanced review copy of Ellen Meister‘s soon-to-be-released and breathtakingly great new novel, The Other Life. I can’t wait for the book to be released and for the rest of the reading public to join me in celebrating this beautiful book. Before I had a child, I often wondered what it would be like to have one … Read More The Other Life, by Ellen Meister
This one is for all of the kids who live outside the edge of normal, all of the kids who have secrets behind what their faces show at school each day, all of the kids who have been picked on, and especially for all of the kids who when faced with the worst, offer up their best. This one is for all of you … Read More Sorta Like A Rock Star, by Matthew Quick
I worried through the entirety of my pregnancy. How, I fretted, could I bring a child into this world? How could I protect him? What did he have to look forward to but melting ice caps, tsunamis, wild fires, genocide, floods, hurricanes, drought, war, war, war, serial killers, crazed gunmen in schools, bullies, etc. Now that I am a parent, I realize I can’t … Read More Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr.
It’s not surprising to me that I loved Steward O’Nan’s Last Night at the Lobster; he’s one of my favorite writers, after all, and this books stands out for me among the many books of his I love. It’s not only a book with a lot of heart; it’s also a book that is timely–as 2009 is said to be the year that many … Read More Last Night at the Lobster, by Stewart O’Nan
I read Anne Enright’s The Gathering (Man Booker Prize) slowly. I had to. If I had not, the pain would have been insurmountable. Even so, the pain was there, a dull throb. If you have ever grieved (which we nearly all have or will at some point in our lives), then this book will speak to you. Directly, honestly. If you have ever grieved a … Read More The Gathering, by Anne Enright
Philadelphia is not only the home of the quintessentially American Liberty Bell, cheese steak, and Rocky, but now Philadelphia offers us another American original: Pat Peoples, the neurologically-damaged, ex-wife pining, mother-loving, uber Eagles fan protagonist of Matthew Quick’s dazzling debut novel The Silver Linings Playbook. You might think that a book about a guy who has lost so much–his wife, his home, his job, … Read More The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick
My mother always told me, “Friends may come and go, but a sister is forever.” She had six sisters, so she knew what she was talking about. My father had four sisters and I have three. I grew up in a world of sisters and feel like I have a pretty good handle on sisterhood, and so does Ellen Meister. At the core of … Read More The Smart One, by Ellen Meister
Alexander Chee’s Edinburgh is necessary, is timely, and is downright gorgeous despite it’s sometimes ugly subject matter. This is the story of Fee–how his life ended up the way it did, on a beach, deciding to live instead of die. It is also “a fox story. Of how a fox can be a boy. And so it is also the story of a fire.” … Read More Edinburgh, by Alexander Chee
Great interview with Charles Baxter in the latest issue of The Missouri Review in which he discusses his new novel (The Soul Thief) and writing and the writing life. I loved, especially, what he had to say about writing novels vs writing stories–what you learn (or don’t learn) from each: The novel is a very forgiving form. I spent years of my life writing … Read More "I was gripped by a form of literary bad faith"