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NewPages Book Reviews

Reviews of newly published and forthcoming independent and university press titles.

Posted December 01, 2016

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  • Book Type Nonfiction Edited
  • by Christopher Schaberg & Mark Yakich
  • Date Published July 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-78279-818-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 219pp
  • Price $22.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

If you’ve ever flown anywhere, you’ll identify with many of the short essays in Airplane Reading, edited by Christopher Schaberg and Mark Yakich. Even if you’ve never flown, it’s still worth reading for sentences like this: “A flying problem is the opposite of a drinking problem: it starts when you lose interest in the free booze.” So writes Ian Bogost in his essay “Frequent Flight.” Bogost is indeed a frequent flyer at more than 200,000 miles in a year. His piece is joined by essays from fellow travelers, including several doctors who take to the sky.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Melody S. Gee
  • Date Published February 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-943899-01-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 55pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Daniel Klawitter

Melody S. Gee’s new book of poems is a compelling catalog of inheritance and family history—of trying to make a home in a world divided between incarnation and separation, life and death, past and future. The book itself is divided into two sections: “Separate Blood” and “Bone.” So not surprisingly, the poems here deal with bodies and their relation to other bodies, particularly the mother-daughter relationship, but other heritages as well.

 

 

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Nora Gold
  • Date Published April 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-77133-261-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $22.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Obsession is a nasty beast whose claws sink deep and anchor inside its victims. Nora Gold’s book, The Dead Man, follows a heartbroken Eve Bercovitch, who has spent the last five years bleeding out in the grips of her obsession. The Dead Man straps readers into the passenger’s seat of a roller coaster ride through the world of Israeli music. Gold weaves a narrative so intricate that readers everywhere will find themselves questioning the reality of this world. Eve is the perfectly imperfect vehicle through the wild world that’s unearthed inside these pages.

  • Subtitle A Graphic Memoir
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Amy Kurzweil
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936-78728-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 288pp
  • Price $18.95
  • Review by Katy Haas

The holiday season brings families together, for better or worse, leading many of us to face the makeup of our identities across the dining room table. Whether it’s seeing your own mannerisms in your parents, or it’s basking in grandparents’ old stories from before you were born, we can recognize the ways in which our families have shaped our identities. In her graphic memoir, Flying Couch, Amy Kurzweil explores her own identity as a granddaughter, a daughter, an artist, and a Jew.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Armando Lucas Correa
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 9781501121142
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 384pp
  • Price $26.99
  • Review by Olive Mullet

Armando Lucas Correa’s novel The German Girl is a sad Holocaust story, one not heard before. Based on an historical tragedy, never acknowledged by the Cuban government, it nevertheless includes the names and pictures of many of the 937 passengers on the St. Louis ship, fleeing Nazi Germany, who were not allowed to disembark at Havana on May 27, 1939—nor allowed into Canada or the U.S. They had to return to Europe where England, France, Belgium and Holland each took some but by then Germany declared war and only the English refugees were safe. Before that, some passengers with precious cyanide capsules committed suicide, because so few were allowed into Cuba, where more discrimination followed them, forcing many other outsiders to make the perilous journey to Miami. This story made is individual, personal and emotional by the focus on the Rosenthal family fleeing Berlin.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Amina Gautier
  • Date Published February 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-932418-56-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 216pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor

Amina Gautier’s third collection of short stories The Loss of All Lost Things is an accomplished reflection of our terrible reality. Abducted children, rent-boys, old maids, drop-outs, mourning parents, aging-regret filled parents, widowers eating uncooked Thanksgiving turkey with canned stuffing, the ugliest faces of divorce riddle each page with regret and melancholia.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by David Huddle
  • Date Published September 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936797-77-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by MacKenzie Hamilton

Imagine you’ve discovered a way to assassinate anyone you please, with guaranteed anonymity, and it’s as easy as a single click of a button. Maura Nelson makes this discovery in what seems to be an epiphany. This knowledge is too heavy a burden for Maura to carry alone, so she enlists the help of Jack Plymouth. Together the two of them must battle morality and sense in My Immaculate Assassin by David Huddle.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Laurie Stone
  • Date Published October 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8101-3428-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 216pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Allyson Hoffman

Written in a voice and style reminiscent of memoir, Laurie Stone’s collection of linked short stories My Life as an Animal traces the strengthening and breaking of friendships and family ties in twenty-six stories. The narrator of the stories dances through time—from adolescence to her current life at sixty—and place—New York, Arizona, California, and England. True to life, characters appear and reappear in unexpected ways, affecting others in the past and present.

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jessie van Eerden
  • Date Published April 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-943665-08-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $16.99
  • Review by Kelly Sauvage Angel

Within our world, ripe with the over-thinking of experience, it’s rare to encounter a coming-of-age story quite as visceral or unselfconsciously honest as that found within Jessie van Eerden’s My Radio Radio. Perhaps it’s the subtly surrealist thread that weaves its way through the tale that disarms the reader, setting her up, even readying her, for the unpacking of whatever symbolic gifts of meaning might emerge from the text. Wings. Radio. A baby chick. The click whirr, hiss hmm of a dying man’s machine. Yet, in spite of all that is foreshadowed, in spite of every ounce of allegory, it is within the journey of twelve-year-old Omi Ruth that each of the answers reside, should one choose to listen.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Vi Khi Nao
  • Date Published May 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937658-48-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Trena Machado

Vi Khi Nao, born in Long Khanh, Vietnam in 1979, came to the United States when she was seven years old. In her book, The Old Philosopher, she has given us poems in vigorous experimental language. Reading through the book the first time, there is a feeling of a balanced worldly eye, even as the pervasive indistinctness of mixed and matched images/metaphors leaves a sense of no orientation. By the third reading, the seemingly unmoored fragments begin to come into focus: the book feels like the interlacing of two cultures initiated by the wreckage of the Vietnam War.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Eavan Boland
  • Date Published November 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-393-28536-9
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 176pp
  • Price $26.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor

When I was a teenager my grandmother gave me an Irish Writer’s poster. Shaw. Synge. Swift. Behan. Yeats. Joyce. Beckett and O’Brien. It hung on the back on my bedroom door, right between The Republic of Ireland’s national soccer squad photo and the iconic red swim-suited Farah Fawcett. I was too young and isolated to know just how chauvinistic and linked to politics, often violently, the world of Irish letters and publishing was at the time. I had a vague idea about the struggle for political freedom, but was blind to gender issues that seem all too blazing now.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Anaïs Duplan
  • Date Published June 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936767-45-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $9.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor
You and I are filthy but it is / our filth" — “The Flying Phalangers”

Popping with pop culture. Zinging with Net slang. Formless yet formed. Slick and rough. Dating-sites and Netflix and Martha Stewart and Kendrick Lamar and Kim Kardashian and TMZ and ENVY and funerals and coke and religion and love and names become algebra and no one knows where they stand except on the cusp of a new paradigm, a new aesthetic—Take This Stallion is a force of poetic nature.

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