Jul/Aug 2007

e c l e c t i c a   r e v i e w s  & 
i n t e r v i e w s

Reviews & Interviews

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

Gilbert Wesley Purdy reviews...

The Girl with Bees in Her Hair
by Eleanor Rand Wilner

Eleanor Wilner's poems are themselves a tapestry. They have a woof and warp, a texture, a unity that comes together a thread at a time. Because the reader watches it woven, rather than standing before a finished work of visual art, the weaving itself is a part of the experience together with the patience that the shuttle requires. To read these poems quickly is to miss too much of what they are about.

What's Written on the Body
by Peter Pereira

While Ward and June seemed to spend little time with their neighbors or friends, however, the Pereira household would not be the same without them weaving in and out of the scene. They are plants in the greater garden, patients in the greater clinic.

Path, Crooked Path
by John Balaban

Today's Beat, as likely as not, is a middle aged man struggling in his third marriage. Maybe he is a poet by trade, and can take his workplace with him, or maybe he's put a few dollars aside and is spending them on a bit of thoughtful freedom, which his thoughtfulness will teach him isn't even freedom after all.

Ann Skea reviews...

Autobiography of My Mother
by Meg Stewart

The annual Artists' Ball was the highlight of the year, and it was obviously a very lively and uninhibited affair. When Margaret's mother, concerned for the reputation of her daughter, ordered an older brother to escort Margaret to the ball, Margaret worried that he might be shocked. Luckily, he dropped her off and disappeared for his own night on the town, then returned to pick her up later.

Ted Hughes Selected Translations
by Daniel Weissbort

Hughes may not have taken any part in the academic debates about the different approaches to translation (described by Weissbort as "'foreignisation' as against 'domestication' or naturalising translation") but, as a poet, he had very definite views about his own approach

Red Princess: A Revolutionary Life
by Sofka Zinovieff

Princess Sofka Dolgorouky's maternal grandfather was Alexei Brobinsky, who was a direct descendent of Catherine the Great, Empress of All the Russias, and her lover, Gregory Orlov. Her paternal grandfather also traced his origins back to Catherine's court, and to a favourite of Catherine's consort, Potemkin. This exceptionally beautiful woman, known as la Belle Greque, had been sold as a courtesan by her impoverished mother in Constantinople. Her aristocratic lover is reputed to have lost her at cards to a Polish Count Potocki, who married her.

Maryanne Snell reviews...

Pride of Baghdad
by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon

It is Noor's perspective that forms the core of the metaphor within the book; as she questions whether freedom can be given or only earned, or if a life of freedom filled with brutality is better than life of captivity, the book begs the same questions of human life.

First in Space
by James Vining

It's this attention to character that makes First in Space so effective, and ultimately the story, at least to this reader, so tragic. Reactions to the events in the book will vary, largely dependent on the reader's personal views on how animals are treated but I'll admit to bursting into tears at the start of the epilogue.

Kajsa Wiberg reviews...

The Arc and the Sediment
by Christine Allen-Yazzie

The storytelling reads like an early episode of Lost; the setting is promising, the characters complex, and the narrative seesaws in and out of the story. Gretta comes across like a Russian doll where each layer shredded only reveals more secrets and provokes more questions.

Niranjana Iyer reviews...

My Happy Life
by Lydia Millet

Millet precisely balances her protagonist's character on the knife edge between innocence and ignorance, and the result is a superbly realized portrayal of a mentally deficient woman betrayed by the system.

Colleen Mondor reviews...

Books about mysterious houses
by Various Authors

With this title, Reeve has created an amazing combination of the best parts of the British Empire and everything NASA wished it could accomplish. On top of the Martian landing and Oliver Twist flashback, he also gives his readers pirates ­ space pirates! How awesome is that?!

Books about teenage romance
by Various Authors

Call me a fool, but I bet if we got all the leaders of the world together in a room and told them to talk about their first brush with teenage love, you would find a lot more heads nodding in agreement than you might expect.

Picture books out this Summer
by Various Authors

Page after page has basic questions from all sorts of animals with “Dear Abby” style replies that make sense, and will provide answers to curious young Animal Planet devotees. Illustrator Kate Sheppard's comic-book style pictures keep the title on just the right side of serious ­ there is nothing intimidating here and the facial expressions alone on these insects and animals will certainly please young readers. Kudos to author Claire Llewellyn in particular, though for getting solid facts about wildlife out to readers in a way that is informative and kids can relate too.

The Day My Mother Left
by James Prosek

The Day My Mother Left is a very touching story, a sweet story that will make readers recall their own childhoods and those first moments when they recognized their parents as people who had their own demons and crosses to bear.

Jeannine Hall Gailey interviews...

Kate Greenstreet
Author of case sensitive

I write poetry instead of prose partly because I just don't like explaining, filling it all in. Or, as a reader, having things filled in for me.

Alissa Nuttling interviews...

Lydia Millet
Author of My Happy Life

I'm not making so bold a statement as to say that addictions and parenting aren't important. But the category of popular writing that chronicles individual triumphs over adversity, taken as a whole, sends a disturbing message about the culture that produces it.

Liesl Jobson interviews...

Claudia Smith
Author of The Sky is a Well and Other Shorts

Sometimes, on a good day, I'll sit at my desk with the windows opened, as my son naps, reviewing, reading or writing, and another writer in the virtual room will log in. Three or four of us will read and write together. It feels deliciously quiet and yet I'm not alone with my words.

Elizabeth P. Glixman interviews...

Diane Lockward
Author of What Feeds Us

My specialty area is desserts—and even my fussy eaters would eat those. My most popular dessert is bocconi dolce—three layers of meringue, each glazed with chocolate and topped with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. The three layers are assembled one on top of the other.

Abram Shalom Himelstein
Author of What the Hell Am I Doing Here: The 100 T-Shirt Project

Writing the book together spoiled me for the work of writing a book alone. The plan was to write the book in a month. Five pages a day, 30 days—a kick-ass 150-page novel. It took two years.

Scott Malby reviews...

Five Lit Sites—Quick and Dirty

One of the most irritating literary sites on the internet is TriQuarterly. Its Web presence this last May represented a truncated calling card or paralytic limb of the Northwestern University Press.