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NewPages Book Reviews

Posted August 3, 2009

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Elise Paschen
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59709-131-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Cyan James
Every poem in Paschen's Bestiary has been carefully groomed; each poem still stays a little feral, mostly concerning what strange things we do in our own familiar homes: A woman bears the chrysalis of her son in her wandering body, a mother nurses amid a welter of storybook patterns, the vagaries of gods and storms and men thunder in the background...
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  • Book Type YA Novel
  • by Jutta Richter
  • Date Published September 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-57131-690-5
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Jessica Powers
What would you give up to pursue a dream? In this rich and wonderful novel for people of all ages, a 9-year-old boy named Niner is willing to sell his guardian angel in exchange for money so that he and his friend, a homeless man called Cosmos, can travel to the sea and open an “ice cold drinks” stand. But once Niner sells his guardian angel, a terrible thing happens: he is left without protection, vulnerable to any whim of fate, germ, or accident. The story’s plot hinges on this one question: will he be able to get his guardian angel back before he dies?
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  • Book Type Edited
  • by Tara L. Masih
  • Date Published May 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0978984861
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 208pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by John Madera
[Here's my flash review of Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction:]
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  • Book Type YA Novel
  • by Jessica Lee Anderson
  • Date Published October 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-57131-689-9
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $17
  • Review by Jessica Powers
Anderson’s sophomore novel explores one young man’s descent into schizophrenia as he responds to an erratic and arbitrary world filled with a dysfunctional alcoholic mother, a disappearing stepfather, and a best friend with problems as large as his own.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Matthew Vollmer
  • Date Published February 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1596923126
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 250pp
  • Price $24.00
  • Review by Brian Alan Carr
Matthew Vollmer’s impressive debut collection grates its characters against their fate, pitting their desires and their beliefs against each other as these brightly rendered tales unfold. These are well constructed, richly polished stories that rely heavily on nuanced events to deliver powerful and precise emotion. Characters struggle with sexuality, social acceptance, and death – often times through the filter of non-mainstream Christian faith. The result is an odd and heightened sense of guilt and grief.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Paul Yoon
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-932511-70-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 270pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Cyan James
The wind. The East China Sea. Time gnawing on the shore. In the eight assured short stories in his first collection, Yoon takes us through fifty years on the fictional Korean island of Solla, where his characters map out lives eroded by warfare and polished by a series of tender passing moments.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Andrew Zornoza
  • Date Published June 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9779019-1-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 108pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Cynthia Reeser
Andrew Zornoza’s expansive, fragmentary Where I Stay is a piecemeal construction of text and image. An epigraph, penned in 1938 by Walker Evans, simultaneously urges the reader and the eye behind the camera to focus on “[t]hese anonymous people who come and go in the cities and who move on the land,” on “what is in their faces and in the windows and the streets beside and around them.” Fittingly, it is just those elements, particular to an individual’s specific moment, time and place, that capture the anonymous sense of the national spirit.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Juan de Recacoechea
  • Translated From Spanish
  • by Adrian Althoff
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1933354729
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 172pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Laura Di Giovine
Andean Express by Bolivian journalist Juan de Recacoechea follows a slew of intriguing characters on an overnight train ride from Bolivia to Chile.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by W.B. Garvey
  • Date Published August 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9822294-1-5
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 320pp
  • Price $26.95
  • Review by Christina Hall
This microscopic look at France’s attempt to join two different parts of the world through outside labor is done in an honest and unbiased way through the two very different characters of Thomas and Byron. W.B. Garvey, the author of this climatic and colorful novel, writes with a straightforward and no-games-played style that evokes as broad a spectrum of emotion as the music Garvey is famous for playing on his violin. In his novel, Panama Fever, Garvey details the beginning stages of what we now know as the Panama Canal, enriching the pages with truthful character and landscape settings.
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