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NewPages Book Reviews

Posted February 2, 2009

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by H.L. Hix
  • Date Published November 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0979745041
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 83pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Roy Wang
Legible Heavens is a difficult book. Not because of any abstruse references or language, but because after examining the long sequences Mr. Hix has strung together, the flow of one image to the next, and the tenuous chains of implication, you may not be sure of what he said.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kyle Buckley
  • Date Published October 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1552452066
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 79pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by C.M. McLean
Kyle Buckley’s first book, The Laundromat Essay, is a postmodern mix of poetics, absurd parable and essay.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Henry James & Edith Wharton
  • Date Published July 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1558615762
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 129pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Tony Bonds
The logic behind the 2x2 series, published by the Feminist Press, goes something like this: selected works by two authors (one male, one female) dealing with a similar theme or subject are juxtaposed in a single book. The blurb on the back of the jacket puts it this way: “Love. Death. Conflict. Civilization and its discontents. Do women and men tackle these enduring themes differently? [2x2] matches short works by great women and men writers and lets you be the judge.”
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Peter Stamm
  • Translated From German
  • by Michael Hofmann
  • Date Published July 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1590512791
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 229pp
  • Price $23.95
  • Review by Laura Di Giovine
On a seemingly ordinary day, Andreas decides to change the course of his life. He’s empty, worn out and sick of life’s routines, but he’s also learned that he may have cancer. Almost immediately, Andreas decides to quit his job, sell his Parisian apartment of 20 years and return to his hometown in Switzerland to visit, and perhaps act upon, an unrequited love.
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  • Book Type Edited
  • by Joshua Beckman, Matthew Zapruder
  • Date Published September 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1933517339
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
The word “politics” comes from the Latin politicus and means, according to Merriam-Webster, “of or relating to government, a government, or the conduct of government.” It’s the conduct of government – George Bush’s government – that concerns most of the 50 poets collected here. Some are famous; some are new. All are accomplished and impassioned.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Ron MacLean
  • Date Published August 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0974428857
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 210pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Cynthia Reeser
Ron MacLean, author of the 2004 novel Blue Winnetka Skies, surges forward with his new collection of short stories, Why the Long Face? The collection’s witty, and at times wry, take on the ordinary stuff of life works to subtly reveal the extraordinary nature hidden in even the most common events.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Jane Lazarre
  • Date Published December 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0971487390
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 200pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Tony Bonds
Celia, a teacher, writer, and mother in her fifties, undergoes psychoanalysis after nearly being killed by a passing taxi. Finding that she has bottled away years of painful memories, she obsessively engages in her work with Dr. Daniels, to whom she pours out stories and dreams about her mother who committed suicide, her relationship with various members of her extended family, and longing for her grown son who lives across the country.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Rosine Nimeh-Mailloux
  • Date Published October 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1897187487
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 352pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Christina Hall
Don’t let the title or shadowy sepia cover fool you; this is not your typical Middle Eastern novel: sad, dark, slow, un-relatable. There are no silent, dark-clad, wise old women or handsome, ruthless, old-fashioned, but still socially respectable young men. The plot isn’t made slow by verbally artistic renditions of the dusty scenery or groups of loyal women milling around the well. The tone is not sad in a “you’ll-never-know-what-it’s-like, feel-sorry-for-the-lot-of-us, but-our-life-is-beautiful,” distant kind of way.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jericho Brown
  • Date Published October 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1-930974-79-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 69pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Wayne Johns
The epigraph from Prince Rogers Nelson (“The beautiful ones always smash the picture”) provides a succinct introduction to the territory Brown mines throughout Please; namely, the intersection of violence and desire. For those who may not recognize his full given name, Prince Rogers Nelson is better known simply as Prince (a.k.a. The Artist Formerly Known As…). It should come as no surprise, given the choice of epigraph, that music is one of the book’s central motifs.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Forrest Gander
  • Date Published September 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0811217453
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 106pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Tony Bonds
Although only 106 pages long, Forrest Gander’s first novel is freighted with the emotional complexity and gritty vividness of a heavy-weight book several times as long.
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