Apr/May 2018

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!)

Ann Skea reviews...

A Feast of Fools and Gall
by Terry Gifford and Matt Howard, respectively

Matt also tells some wonderful stories—of wolf-children; of a man creating a book of Adders in revenge for the snake-bite death of his twin brother and mother; of an asthmatic boy, "Half-Lung," who kills an albatross on an early sailing ship; and a dark, witchy sequence of poems, "The House of Owls," in which an owl-woman who comes "with a heavy scent of hawthorn" and "owl-white skin," takes a human mate and leaves a legacy of owl spirits, which over the years haunt the titular house.

The French Girl
by Lexie Elliott

The pace at which events and revelations occur make this a gripping book. It is easy to like Kate and to share her feelings, doubts, and emotions. She is an outspoken Yorkshire lass with a sharp mind and (sometimes) a sharp tongue. Clearly she did not murder Severine. Nor did her friend, Lara. But what about the others?

Granta 142: Animalia
edited by Sigrid Rausing

There are stories, fact and fiction, of rat-snipers employed to kill giant rats in an American city; of returned astronauts living, in their space suits, with American families; of the annual deer cull in Scotland; of a future in which "the last children of Tokyo" have never seen a live animal; of swifts that live their whole lives in the air; and of unusual animals—coyotes, speedy the dog, a pet wolf cub, and arch thief and schemer, Rocky the racoon.

The Break
by Katherena Vermette

Stella, too, is a Métis, and part of the power of this story is the way it immerses the reader in an extended family where indigenous custom and culture have nurtured deep connections, and whose members have moved over several generations from reservation life to a marginalized urban setting where drugs, alcohol, and violence are ever-present.

The Earlie King and the Kid in Yellow
by Danny Denton

The Earlie King and the Kid in Yellow is written with the fluency, wit, and imagination traditionally attributed to Irish story-tellers. It almost asks to be read in an Irish accent. And although some may find it too strange or too violent, it is a fine debut novel.

by Leïla Slimani

We share the lives and thoughts of Louise, Myriam, and (occasionally) Paul, and everything seems perfectly reasonable and understandable—and so easily possible that no one planning to hire a nanny should read this.

The Letters of Sylvia Plath
edited by Peter K. Steinberg and Karen Kukil

This is a hefty book in all senses of the word, and faced with such a thick book many readers, I know, will read only the sections of particular interest to them. Sylvia's earliest daily postcards and letters to her mother from summer camp, for example, are likely to interest only the most dedicated of Plath scholars, although they do show her increasing ability to capture her life in her words.

The Last Train
by Sue Lawrence

Sue Lawrence is an award-winning food writer. She won the BBC Masterchef award in 1991 and has been cookery columnist for several prominent newspapers. She is clearly very good at writing about food, but not so good, I fear, at writing novels. Nevertheless, The Last Train is light reading that, although not to my taste, will interest readers who like a little history mixed with their romances.

Elizabeth P. Glixman reviews...

When My Brother Was An Aztec
by Natalie Diaz

This book is rich in everything, including the English language, Spanish words and phrases, love, anger, despair. Diaz's ability to reveal to us the core of the story and the heartache of the people in evocative poems is remarkable.

Gilbert Wesley Purdy reviews...

The Dream of Reason
by Jenny George

Her images, like "Chime of spoon in sink," are precise in their materiality, unadorned. They are more immediate than a record. They unload themselves in carefully measured syllables.

Where Now: New and Selected Poems
by Laura Kasischke

Life is much more complex, keeps upping the ante. Several poems are scattered throughout the volume with the same title, trying to put it all together (another trait that will recur in subsequent volumes). Lines and images begin to be repeated to show all that echoes through the mind refusing to be resolved.

and discusses...

The Great Age Of Self-Expression

Self-identified independent publishing experts release free newsletters laden with paid advertising for a full range of services and inside information in order to succeed in the business. A premium version of their own services is always available at a modest price. Digital Indy books on how to succeed at publishing digital Indy books is one of the most common genres of book offered online.