RaveLibrary JournalThe great strength of this latest novel from National Book Award finalist Alameddine lies in how it deftly combines the biographical with the historical; the small, more personal moments often carry the most weight. A remarkable, surprisingly intimate tale of human connection in the midst of disaster.
John Oliver Killens
RaveLibrary JournalThis posthumously published novel by Killens (1916–87), a founder of the Black Arts Movement, is a major addition to his oeuvre ... Killens casts a broad net, skewering everything from the heady early days of African independence to the pan-Africanism of the period among Black Americans, and, most sharply, race relations in the United States. This is a brilliantly scathing, outrageous satire as important today as when it was written.
PositiveLibrary Journal... a harsh and magical novel ... their journey takes on mythic proportions ... goodness, hope, and a bit of magic are pitted against gritty realities. The result is unquestionably appealing, though somewhat diminished by a number of characters who seem like period movie clichés.
PositiveLibrary JournalA combination of political thriller, mystery, and meditation on artists’ responsibility to their subjects, this follow-up to Power’s story collection Mothers is a satisfying blend of thoughtfulness and suspense.
RaveLibrary JournalDuring an early scene, Zorrie and her friends toss flakes of radium paint into the air and stare with wonder at its seemingly miraculous glow. Through an ordinary life of hard work and simple pleasures, Zorrie comes to learn the real wonder is life itself. A quiet, beautifully done, and memorable novel.
PositiveLibrary JournalAbdoh...explores the lives behind the war-torn headlines in a way that captures the full humanity of the participants. Channeling a bit of Tim O’Brien and a good deal of Joseph Heller, he has written the best novel to date on the Middle East’s ceaseless wars.
Anja Kampmann, Trans. Anne Posten
PositiveLibrary JournalAward-winning German author Kampmann is a poet, and this first foray into fiction is a poet’s novel in the richness of its imagery and the exquisiteness of the language. It’s as if the protagonist were a modern Odysseus returning to a home he no longer has.
RaveLibrary JournalThrough the pain of Hamid’s alienation, Sofer, an Iranian-born Jew who grew up in the United States, has created a memorable and difficult character who can be seen as embodying the spiritual distress of Iran since the 1978 revolution. A powerful, complex, and profoundly anguished novel made more relevant by current tensions.
RaveLibrary JournalWorking with the spiritual and social notions of the stranger and the other, Lacey...creates an amorphously Christlike figure who comes to represent whatever people want to see, good or bad. With echoes of some of Shirley Jackson’s work, this is a complex, many-faceted fable about religion, hypocrisy, forgiveness, and how society defines social identity.
RaveLibrary JournalThis is an archly comic and ultimately chilling political novel on the effects of the dark money unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision on the American political soul as well as on the souls of individuals. Thoughtful, sharp-edged fare for the upcoming election year.
PositiveLibrary JournalGreenwell is an exquisite writer who can capture a scene with great nuance or evoke an emotion with depth and power. In this ultimately inner-facing work, he maps the landscapes of the heart through the pleasure and pain of relationships and the intersections of love and violence ... Covering similar emotional ground, this heartfelt work is a worthy successor to Greenwell’s extraordinary debut.
PositiveLibrary JournalDrawing on a true incident, Palmer pits the age-old human desire to believe the miraculous against the emerging rationalism of the scientific community in Mary’s time. In this yearning to believe what we’d like to be true over the facts, the novel perhaps offers some parallels to our own time.
PositiveLibrary Journal...[a] wickedly absurdist satire from Wright ... While the satire is occasionally obvious and over-the-top, this is a richly comic—and one might say, right on the money.
PositiveLibrary JournalSubverting the conventions of the late 19th-early 20th century novel of the obsessed European venturing into the jungle, Haber...has crafted a knowing (and perhaps at times too knowing) parody of the genre. Combine its brevity with its main character\'s mania and almost religious elevation of melancholy, and the book might best be described as Heart of Darkness viewed in a fun house mirror.
PositiveLibrary JournalThough Reynolds’s plans for renewal end up wildly off the mark, he ultimately finds something of value. While delightedly skewering the privileged entertainment industry lifestyle, Morris uses Reynolds’s travails and the divisions of the Civil War period to make larger points about the current state of America.
Robert Menasse, Trans. by Jamie Bulloch
PositiveLibrary JournalThe tension between a supranational European vision and a rising tide of nationalism is at the center of this trenchant political satire. Given that increasing nationalism is not a strictly European phenomenon, this German Book Prize winner may well find an audience on this side of the Atlantic.
RaveLibrary JournalThis provocative story cycle follows a group of young black men—Gio, Rolls, Rye, and Dub—from a rundown area of Pawtucket, RI, as they grow into adulthood ... These stories are as powerful and tough-minded as the realities of race, class, and identity the characters confront. Holmes depicts troubled lives with candor and compassion. A notable debut.
RaveLibrary JournalWritten by a first-time author currently incarcerated, this is both a sad love story and a raw tale of a young man\'s downfall owing to war and its aftermath. While the main character is no one\'s role model, he has enough intelligence and moral sense to seem not totally beyond redemption ... A raging, agonized scream of a novel and a tremendously powerful debut.