Haruki Murakami, Trans. by Philip Gabriel & Ted Goossen
RaveThe Kansas City StarContrary to the machismo and bullfighting of the Ernest Hemingway book from which the title comes, these are simple, modern tales of love, loss and loneliness written with male protagonists ... Each marvelously introspective piece is populated by taciturn characters with profound emotional lives. That’s not to say that these stories are in any way dull. Murakami has a way of taking personal narratives and charging them with suspense. His stories maintain the perfect rate of revelation, balancing surprise and the reader’s thirst for knowledge without ever being patronizing or secretive ... an intimate, captivating and poignant read.
PositiveThe Kansas City StarMichael Knight’s prose is pristine, as watertight as the skiffs, barges, and tankers that occupy Mobile Bay ... A sense of place and past is strong, but it never overshadows the compelling human narratives at the center of every story. Each piece is as impeccable and varied as Knight’s readers have come to expect ... Some stories are muted and introspective, others throttle with suspense — all earn their keep ... While Knight may not be known in the short story genre, he demonstrates an undeniable mastery of it. Eveningland is both expansive and contained, exploratory and insular. No one can deny this author’s command of sentence-level writing, and his paragraphs flow in flawless succession like warm waves from the Gulf. Some readers, however, might be challenged by Knight’s unwillingness to offer firm resolutions to his stories. Most of his endings are deeply nuanced, and a few are outright cliffhangers.
RaveThe Kansas City StarTinti’s second novel skillfully channels suspense, longing and loss as it follows Samuel Hawley and his daughter, Loo, attempting to settle down in small-town Massachusetts after years on the road evading a mysterious past ... bullet episodes read more like short stories than chapters in a novel, keeping the work fresh and alive and providing expansive settings — from Arctic glacier to Arizona motel to Atlantic pier ... Tinti’s writing is strong and measured; for her, the sentence is not so much a grammatical unit as a rhythmic one. Periods mark almost vocal pauses, as if the entire book were being recounted to a captive fireside audience. The novel’s images intertwine across space and time, colliding in unexpected and satisfying ways ... a moving, human drama of lives inextricably bound to one another, linked by past and present. It raises essential questions of heroism, family and identity — letting readers seek the answers — and embeds them in a truly magnetic story.