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Jan/Feb 2015

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Reviews & Interviews


(These are excerpts—click on the title to view the whole piece!)

 

Ann Skea reviews...

The Sleeper and the Spindle
by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Chris Riddell
 
The whole book is thrilling to look at, to read and to handle. It is also tells a thoroughly modern story, mixing and re-inventing some elements of Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, but in a unique and very quirky way.

Hansel & Gretel
by by Neil Gaiman, Illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti
 
The gingerbread house, the old woman's seeming kindness and her subsequent cruelty, are fair warning never to trust strangers, as my 12-year-old grandson observed. And Gretel's revenge is, of course, well deserved and generally applauded. But, as he also observed, resourcefulness and luck are not always enough in real life.

In These Times
by Jenny Uglow
 
Far from being a dry historical chronology of "these times," however, Uglow's decision to base much of her account on the letters and diaries of people from all walks of life allows her to offer many revealing, curious, and often intimate details of the way people responded to the threat of invasion and their personal involvement in war.

Granta 129: Fate
edited by Sigrid Rausing
 
Fate may be the theme, but it is broadly interpreted. Granta's editor, Sigrid Rausing, confesses that the question of fate is tricky. Are our lives genetically and socially predetermined or not? She does not answer this question but offers pieces about fate "in its most serious manifestations: love, sexuality, identity, death, illness, religion and war."

 

PD Mallamo reviews...

Descent
by Tim Johnston
 
"Redemption" may be stale word, a concept worn and abused through repetitive misuse, though when redemption actually manifests, it is a mighty and shocking thing. You could say the same about "resistance" or "resilience" or "audacity."

 

Gilbert Wesley Purdy reviews...

Splitting an Order
by Ted Kooser
 
The world into which Kooser was born—the world which he has so come to love, to the benefit of us all—still persists, these poems seem to say. But they are few. More to the point is the estate sale, the yellowing photo, "the empty parking lot / of the abandoned Kmart." More likely to remain is the "chatter / of leaves blown over the shingles" of the farmhouses that will persist beneath vast prairie skies. Maybe inhabitants will also persist who have the silence to hear it.

 

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