Jul/Aug 2023

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...

What an Owl Knows
by Jennifer Ackerman

Captive owls, however, if they become imprinted on humans, can't be returned to the wild, and their behavior may be atypical. In spite of this, some captive owls have been valuable to research. Papa G'Ho, a Great Horned Owl at the Wildlife Center of Virginia, was admitted with wing damage which could not be repaired. His job now is to act as surrogate parent and to teach young owls "essential owl behaviour," such as wariness of humans, self-defense, and how to "socialize with one another."

The Guest Room
by Tasha Sylva

Anyone who has read Kate Morton's earlier novels will know that she excels at setting the scene, creating interesting and likable characters, leading you on until you are sure you have guessed the "secret," then, in the end proving that there is more to it than you ever imagined. Homecoming is no exception. It is also, as the publisher's blurb says, "A love letter to her home country," Australia.

Big Swiss
by Jen Beagin

This offers some idea of the way Greta's mind works and, given that transcripts form quite a large part of Big Swiss, it is obvious that there is a lot of frank sex talk in this book. This becomes more graphic—and almost pornographic—when Greta meets Big Swiss and they begin a passionate relationship, but the book is also very funny, and Beagin has created some wonderfully zany characters.

by Max Porter

Max Porter's Shy is not a big book, but he achieves the seemingly impossible task of making the reader like and feel empathy for Shy, in spite of some of the terrible things he has done. He also, in just fragments of text, brings to life the people whose words fill Shy's head. This may sound disjointed, and textually it is, but it is a very understandable expression of Shy's thoughts and the struggles he has with himself.

by Kate Morton

But there is another voice in the book. The voice of someone who clearly lives very close to Tess, calls her "the Spanish Girl," and knows a great deal about her. As the book progresses, this voice becomes more sinister.

Nicholas Clemente reviews...

by Ian Townsend

Purgatory is all about tone. It's all about setting: a fictional city named Purgatory situated surrealistically in real life America. Nonfictional details keep creeping in around the edges of the fiction—other American cities are named repeatedly, and the fictional Purgatory major league baseball team (The Grey Sox) play games against real MLB teams. But wait—the New York Giants, who face the Grey Sox in the fictional World Series, haven't been a team since 1957. So what era are we in?

Thomas Wolf reviews...

Indigo Field
by Marjorie Hudson

Against the backdrop of the natural world and the region's history, Hudson tells a powerful story, a tale of race and injustice, of greed and indifference, of love and loss and healing. In this world redemption and forgiveness are possible, but characters must earn it.