RaveShelf Awareness... a series of funhouse mirrors, each story in the collection pushing readers to reconsider what is true, distorting the image so completely as to open the viewer to new and unexpected perspectives ... The dozen stories are uniformly strange but delivered in a straightforward cadence that gives lie to the strangeness. They are also wildly readable, each story turning societal norms on their head and leaving readers wondering if maybe it would make sense to honor the passing of a loved one by preparing and sharing a meal from their remains ... Each story displays a fine-boned architecture, a careful curation of details and paring away of the extraneous. The result is remarkable, the lean force of Murata\'s imagination rippling through each piece ... This, then, is the magic Murata works in Life Ceremony, the impressive way she is able to destabilize a mirrored reflection of humanity, giving back a strange and wonderful truth.
RaveShelf AwarenessYoon refuses to follow the typical script, taking readers on an often funny and always compelling journey through the mystery man\'s past, an alternative present and the uncertain future ... City of Orange also raises questions about time and money and the stuff humans accumulate, while sharpening the focus on what really matters: family, love and enduring friendships. Despite its dark premise, City of Orange insists on hope and continuity in the face of tragedy.
RaveThe Nashville Scene... rejects such simplicity, asking readers to consider the ways the past might move through and around each generation, emerging into the present in complicated ways ... Fajardo-Anstine writes effortlessly stunning sentences, each unspooling to create a rich and engrossing tableau. In fact, Woman of Light is much like the visions Desiderya experiences, plunging readers into an unfamiliar past, one that seems to hold vital truths if only we will see them ... a sprawling and gorgeous exploration of the land we have come from, the past we have failed to acknowledge and the persistence of stories through time and space.
RaveShelf Awareness... nearly 60 poems that run like a river in early spring: serene and musical from a distance but, up close, piercing and boundless and full of unexpected life ... Limón demonstrates her singular skill, drawing on both the natural world and humanity, both broken and beautiful ... Limón\'s poems often perform this kind of sleight of hand, hiding a kernel of pain inside a loosely closed fist. Each time, however, the magician\'s palm opens to reveal not emptiness but peace or light.
PositiveShelf Awareness... evocative ... Balancing the story between Alex\'s recollections and historical documents, Barnhill explores the taboos around women and anger, resizing paradigms of choice, freedom and the complicated roles of gender in society.
Tara M. Stringfellow
PositiveChapter 16Description is Stringfellow’s great gift. Whether describing the house or the city of Memphis, each scene is grounded in its setting. Greater still is the way Stringfellow describes people, especially the women ... Stringfellow repeatedly returns to these tensions, the push-pull between mother and child that proves the countless ways we both comfort and fail our children, asking the question: Is love enough? ... a family tree has its limitations. It cannot show you these unnamed relationships, the ones that hold a person and make her. For that, you need art: giant canvases like the ones Joan paints, or tender and honest narratives like Tara M. Stringfellow’s Memphis.
Hans Von Trotha tr. Elisabeth Lauffer
RaveShelf Awareness... a deceptive 138 pages, possible to read in one sitting but, once read, impossible to stop thinking about ... a quiet and surprising masterpiece set during World War II, certain to make readers think deeply about history, philosophy and art.
RaveSouthern Review of BooksA collection of essays on marriage that achieves the impossible ... She walks the tightrope here, unflinching in her appraisal, indulgent in her praise. Somehow, she manages to condemn the restaurant while still convincing you of its tremendous worth. The book is a delight; it is a magic trick. It is also terrifically funny ... Woven through each essay is a chronological reflection on the author’s experience of being a woman, being a girlfriend, then a wife and a mother, none of which is easy ... Havrilesky’s intense candor and the occasional (okay, regular) use of profanity may turn some readers off, but others will find her tone just the right blend of tenderness and irreverence.
RaveSouthern Review of BooksWith beautiful sentences and thoughtful descriptions, Harris has built a story of...intersections. She has woven together each shimmering strand: of the depth of her faith and her commitment to family; her struggles with mental health and her triumphs as a mother and as a professional; the mystery of her son’s body and her own and the relevance of their race. She brings these truths together, holding the incongruities and uncertainties in the palm of her hand, helping us all to see. There are parts of her story I can share, and there are parts I can only observe and receive with empathy, and all of them are important additions to any conversation around parenting, race, disability, and health care. Despite all their difficulties, all the hard truths explored, This Boy We Made is a story of hope and the infinitely beautiful possibilities of humanity.