Category: Reviews

A Review of Alligators at Night by Meg Pokrass

There’s this thing that Meg Pokrass does in her new flash fiction collection, Alligators at Night (Ad Hoc Fiction, 2018). She drops you...

“The Eternal Glory of Happy Hour: A Review of Mary Miller’s Always Happy Hour”

A few years back, I asked a librarian if he had any book recommendations. The man leaned in and said only one name—his tone quiet, almost...

Cutting a Window in the Self: Mindfulness and Mania (A Review of David Ebenbach’s Miss Portland)

Miss Portland: A Novel by David Ebenbach, Orison Books, 2017 David Ebenbach’s first novel, Miss Portland, could serve as a model for...

‘Blood, Sweat, and Pixels’ Brilliantly Lifts the Veil on the Difficulties of Making Video Games

The process for creating a work of art (or a piece of entertainment, if you prefer) differs for each person or group. But the undeniable...

A Review of Hoopty Time Machines

  There is a simple test for a truly enjoyable story: that’s the one you want to re-read, maybe even several times. Most stories in...

A Balance of Corruption and Innocence: Jordan Harper’s ‘She Rides Shotgun’ Review

In 2015, a debut short story collection impressed me so much that I found myself comparing it to almost incomparable Jesus’ Son, the...

“A Back and Forth Page Turner: Edan Lepucki’s ‘Woman No. 17’ Review”

Edan Lepucki’s debut novel, California, became a pre-order sensation in large part due to the turmoil between Amazon and Hachette Book...

“The Bonds that Break Us: Daniel Magariel’s One of the Boys Review”

If the goal of a fiction writer is to say much with few words, Daniel Magariel’s debut novel, One of the Boys, is a near perfect...

“A Life in Theory: A Review of Mark Greif’s Against Everything”

In 2004, a group of friends founded the literary magazine n + 1. They wanted to publish a brand of criticism that they believed didn’t...

“Under the Biome: T.C. Boyle’s The Terranauts Review”

There were times when reading The Terranauts where I felt like I had read this story before. It wasn’t that it necessarily had a...

“Ambitions and Obsessions: Benjamin Rybeck’s The Sadness Review”

It’s always intriguing to read novels that utilize different forms of entertainment as plot devices and methods for relaying themes....

“Unfathomable Scope: Emily Nemens’ Butcher Papers Review”

One of the more intriguing, yet under-read, forms of literature is the chapbook. A staple of popular culture at the outset of the printing...

“Backgammon on the Brain: Jonathan Lethem’s A Gambler’s Anatomy Review”

In a recent New Yorker interview discussing his story, “A Gentleman’s Game,” Jonathan Lethem discusses his fascination with one of...

“I Am The One Who Knocks: Bryan Cranston’s A Life in Parts Review”

“Building a character is like building a house. Without a solid foundation, a base, you’re screwed. You’re going to collapse. An...

“Loss and Longing: Brit Bennett’s The Mothers Review

Each year is typically filled with a smattering of good debut novels, a handful or two of great ones, and a couple of undeniable standouts....

“Some Sort of Genius: Nell Zink’s Private Novelist Review”

It’s not common for a literary writer to release multiple books in the same year or even in the span of a couple of years. So, naturally,...

“Hard to Quit: Nell Zink’s Nicotine Review”

It shouldn’t have been surprising that Nell Zink’s follow-up to her critically claimed commercial debut, Mislaid, turned out to be...

“Compact and Boundless: Paulette Jiles News of the World Review”

It seems like every four or five years a novel comes around that is small in page count and physical size that somehow ends up feeling as...

“Here He Is: Jonathan Safran Foer Here I Am Review”

The first novel from Jonathan Safran Foer in eleven years is an unexpected reading experience. Foer seems like he has been a part of the...

Joy Williams’ The Visiting Privilege: Stories for the Devastated

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Joy Williams was asked what she wanted to receive from a great story. Her reply was simple:...

“Stephen King The Short Story Writer: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams Review”

Stephen King is first and foremost known as a novelist. If you somehow haven’t read one of his books over the past fifty years, chances...

“Joyce Carol Oates’ The Lost Landscape is a Memoir for The Ages”

Memoirs written by famous writers are viewed by readers as special gifts, invites into the personal lives of novelists and short story...

Bill Clegg’s Did You Ever Have A Family: Interconnected Stories of Heartbreak and Hope

In an interview with The New York Times regarding the birth of his debut novel, Did You Ever Have A Family, Bill Clegg remarked, “I...

Jesse Eisenberg’s Ambitious Foray Into Fiction: Bream gives me hiccups & other stories

Jesse Eisenberg, recently in the spotlight for portraying journalist David Lipsky alongside Jason Segel as David Foster Wallace in the...

The New Yorker Short Story Round-up: August, 2015

Book reviewers, given their title, generally review novels, short story collections, nonfiction, biographies, memoirs, essay collections,...

“A Review of The Best Small Fictions 2015”

Having studied creative writing in both the US and the UK recently, I can attest that “small fictions,” to borrow the pithy designation...

A Review of 6 Books on the Craft of Fiction

Here’s the skinny on six of the “how-to” books for fiction writers in my bookcase – three on fiction generally and three on crime...

A Review of Elizabeth Harris’ Mayhem

Mayhem by Elizabeth Harris. October 2015. Winner of the Gival Press Novel Award. When the author, Elizabeth Harris, was eleven years old,...

A Review of Two Books on Revision Techniques

My bookcase holds two books that deal with revising and editing fiction: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and...

“The Art of the Book Review”

I just got off the phone with my friend, L. Marie, who recently created a blog, “Thoughts about writing and life.”...

“A Review of Darrin Doyle’s The Dark Will End the Dark”

The Dark Will End the Dark by Darrin Doyle (Tortoise Books, 2015)  Darrin Doyle’s collection of stories, The Dark Will End the Dark, is...

A Review of Flash Fiction International

Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories from Around the World (W. Norton & Company); editors: James Thomas, Robert Shapard,...

A Review of Leesa Cross-Smith’s Every Kiss a War

Every Kiss a War by Leesa Cross-Smith (Mojave River Media) In Leesa Cross-Smith’s short story collection, Every Kiss a War, 27 stories...

A Review of Lydia Davis’ Can’t and Won’t

Can’t and Won’t by Lydia Davis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)   In Lydia Davis’s new collection of short stories,...

A Review of Blake Kimzey’s Families Among Us

Families Among Us by Blake Kimzey (Black Lawrence Press, 2014) One need only look at the back cover of Blake Kimzey’s Families...

A Review of Sheldon Lee Compton’s Where Alligators Sleep

Where Alligators Sleep bySheldon Lee Compton (Foxhead Books, 2014) How to sum up a life: You start with the beginning—with peace and...

A Review of Praying Drunk

Praying Drunk by Kyle Minor (Sarabande Books, 2014) Does God exist? The question is either a non-sequitur or deeply important depending on...

A Review of Kirsty Logan’s The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales

The Rental Heart and Other Fairytales by Kirsty Logan (Salt Publishing, Cromer, Nofolk, UK, 2014) Your body is the story of...

A Review of Stuart Dybeck's Ecstatic Cahoots

Ecstatic Cahoots by Stuart Dybeck (Farrar, Straus, Giroux., 2014) Stuart Dybek, an author who has been called a living master of the...

A Review of Peter Markus’s We Make Mud

We Make Mud by Peter Markus (Dzanc Books, 2011) As a dedicated (albeit obsessive) fan and supporter of Peter Markus's works of...