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NewPages Book Reviews

Posted June 1, 2009

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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Amelia Gray
  • Date Published August 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0977199273
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Brian Allen Carr
Amelia Gray is not Amelia Grey. Grey writes romance blockbusters with titles like A Duke to Die For, and Gray’s debut AM/PM is anything but a blockbuster. I’m not even sure if it’s a book. It might be an indefinable thing.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Doug Holder
  • Date Published January 2009
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 133pp
  • Price $18.50
  • Review by Jeanne Lesinski
At a time when many newspapers – if not going out of business altogether – have cut arts coverage, it’s reassuring to see that poet Douglas Holder works as the arts editor for The Somerville News, in Somerville, Massachusetts, a city on the outskirts of Boston and Cambridge. From the Paris of New England is a collection of Holder’s “Off the Shelf” column interviews and Somerville Community Access television show “Poet to Poet: Writer to Writer” interviews with literary figures, many of whom live in this city. The literary luminaries in this volume include Martha Collins, Mark Doty, Timothy Gager, Miriam Levine, Dick Lourie, Afaa Michael Weaver, Marc Widershien, and twenty-two others.
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  • Translated From Chinese
  • by Kenneth Rexroth
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0811218368
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
This collection of Chinese poems, translated by Kenneth Rexroth and selected by Eliot Weinberger, is review-proof. These poems have endured centuries and still stand as models of economy and beauty. All a reviewer can do is offer excerpts from some of the most memorable of them.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Fumitada Naoe
  • Date Published September 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9785084-5-6
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Cyan James
Do you ever listen to your parents’ advice? Fumitada Naoe, a minority displaced in 1980s-era Japan, certainly tried to. On page 9 of his strange, elliptical, memoir-cum-self-help-book, his mother tells him “Rich people and poor people all eat the same grain of rice. The time given to them is also completely the same. You have an enormous amount of time left. So it’s harder to find a reason for not being able to achieve.”
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  • Book Type Essays
  • by Fanny Howe
  • Date Published March 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-520-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 196pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Cynthia Reeser
Fanny Howe, author of more than two dozen books of fiction and poetry and two collections of essays, comes forth with a poignant new collection of essays in The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation. Hers is an idea-driven collection that reveals her pursuit of the writing life, her “vocation that has no name.” The Winter Sun is ultimately a necessary work that finds its own moment in time both by looking back to trace the flight pattern Howe has traversed as an author, and by analyzing the means at which we come to arrive in the present.
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  • Book Type Memoir
  • by Candida Lawrence
  • Date Published June 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-932961-66-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 316pp
  • Price $23.95
  • Review by Christina Hall
Candida Lawrence’s fourth collection of memoirs feels real and honest. From the opening chapter on her first college level paper to the closing chapter on her eighty-four-year-old sister’s unpredictable romance, Lawrence seems to tell it how it is, although she considers herself “the one in the family who is a veteran embroiderer on reality’s edges.”
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by K.A. Hays
  • Date Published February 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-88748-495-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Cyan James
Dear Reader,
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  • Translated From Japanese
  • by Kenneth Rexroth
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0811218375
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Vince Corvaia
These ancient Japanese poems, translated by Rexroth and selected by Eliot Weinberger, are mostly about love, and one who has never loved would be well advised to avoid them. The heartache in many of them is palpable, both through imagery and direct statement. Several, though, are nature poems keenly observed, as in this one by Fujiwara No Sueyoshi (1152-1211):
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Mary Crockett Hill
  • Date Published January 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-932870-27-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 63pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Roy Wang
This boldly titled collection is split into cleverly named sections, such as “everything before us,” “in spite of everything,” and “the end of everything,” so that we immediately get the impression that we will be taken through a giant landscape of image and emotion. However, we are misled in the scope; the landscape presented is largely personal, the everything particular to her universe. The titular poem suggests she will relate the universe to ourselves, not that the universe (or perhaps more specifically, string theory) is a metaphor for our lives, which is perhaps more the case with these poems.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Eugene Lim
  • Date Published September 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0963753601
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 276pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by John Madera
If divorce is a totaled car, then Eugene Lim’s Fog & Car is a multiple vehicle pile-up. Huge accidents tend to occur in rain or fog – the low-visibility tricking drivers into thinking other cars are further away than they really are. Throwing everything into darkness, Lim’s novel forces its characters, and the reader, to crane forward, to squint their eyes, to try get their bearings, just to keep from crashing. And all of this happens after an off-stage break-up.
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