NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

NewPages Book Reviews

Posted September 01, 2015

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jo Ann Clark
  • Date Published September 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-62557-905-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland
You might want to bone up on the Arabian Nights stories, particularly Scheherazade and her sister Dinarzade’s tale, before delving into Jo Ann Clark’s poetic take on the siblings. In 1001 Facts of Prehistoric Life, Clark’s first book, she mixes the fable with some prehistoric fellows and a dash of mythology to present a really interesting set of works. Confession: I had to look up some words, such as viviparity, monotreme, Hypohippus, Merychippus, and mokoro. But once that was in order, a second reading of Clark’s book brought it to life.
  • Subtitle Short Fiction from a Small Planet
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Clifford Garstang
  • Date Published October 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941209-11-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 234pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Kayla Grose
The world seems bigger than what it is. The twenty pieces of short fiction in Everywhere Stories reminds us of this as it closes the gap between countries and cultures, successfully condensing 24,901 miles into a 234 page book. Forget language barriers, plane tickets for the price of a new car, or time constraints—it’s possible to travel the world without ever leaving the comfort of your favorite reading nook.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Juan Villoro
  • Date Published June 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-80760-013-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 140pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Trena Machado
The Guilty by Juan Villoro is the only book of fiction translated into English by this Mexican writer of short stories, novels, plays, essays, and screen scripts. He has been given the Herralde Award in Spain, the Anton Artaud award in France and short-listed for the Reezzori Prize in Italy. In this book of short stories, the individual is in the new global world order, navigating the culture of signs, copies, media, and signifiers of commercial production. Each story is told from a first person point of view, but the “I” does not belong to a specific character with a name, the “I” a transient “I” living in the world through image-manufactured phenomena.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Joseph Massey
  • Date Published September 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-940696-15-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 120pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi
Joseph Massey mentions in the refreshingly spare notes of his fourth collection Illocality that he first encountered his title word in the Emily Dickinson poem “A nearness to Tremendousness.” Dickinson is an apt predecessor for a poet of such deliberate cerebralness. Yet, for his fine command of image, so is William Carlos Williams, or any number of Asian short-form poets. Indeed it is the relationship between logic and image, mind and world, that drives these poems so evenly through their inquiries, that most characterizes their productive tensions. “We think / ourselves here,” Massey writes to close the opening poem “Parse.”
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Anne-Marie Oomen
  • Date Published April 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8143-4078-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 232pp
  • Price $18.99
  • Review by Kimberly Ann
I hate sewing. My mother loves it. To save money during my elementary and middle school years, I wore several of her handmade outfits enduring the shaming glances of classmates who, by the mid-80s, were sporting Guess jeans and Ralph Lauren t-shirts. Unlike Oomen’s adolescent experience, 4-H was less cool during mine, nevertheless, my mother enrolled me in a local club at age eleven so I could learn to make my own skirts and, to this day, I can sew a wicked tunnel stitch (though I seldom find good reason to exercise this skill).
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rebecca Wolff
  • Date Published September 2015
  • ISBN-13 9781940696133
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 176pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
Wolff’s One Morning— sat in my possession in a very raw state. The captivating parts of the poems were laid out and exposed. It was easy to see the mechanics and the utility of every phoneme and word. This is a highly refined piece of work from a woman very much in control of her craft. The level of Rebecca Wolff’s control shines through in the entire piece. There is juxtaposition in each sentence and stanza. “Traveller, / Your journey has been long // and sectional.” Those introductory lines in “Arcadia (et in . . . est)” bear the weight of repetition. They are full of heart and compassion, yet still quite cerebral. There are always dualities to be explored and explained. Wolff demonstrates the relation between the two as often as she can locate it: “By night everything seems impossible // By day, by extension, everything: possible.”
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Alan Cheuse
  • Date Published March 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941493-00-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 392pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Nate Zachar
Prayers for the Living is a sprawling novel, a family epic. Written by the late Alan Cheuse, who was a commentator for NPR, his vast conversational experience is apparent throughout the book, which is told through conversation, narrated by a woman named Minnie Bloch, who chronicles the life of her grandson, Manny, and his joys, his struggles, and his demons.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Elaine Equi
  • Date Published October 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-421-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Benjamin Champagne
Elaine Equi’s latest book, Sentences and Rain, feels like a confident drift. There is so much control and purpose in the playful word ideas. She must be listed among many of the greats. The insights into humanity that are contained in each and every poem remind the reader of the wonder tucked in every corner of life. The words and format are gentle and full of utility. This is the way of those who hold the passage. Equi has pushed her pen for many years. The development is original and organic. One need not read Equi’s previous writing to get the impression that this is a writer and an observer of life in the peak of their critique.
newpages-footer-logo

We are currently in beta and welcome any/all Feedback.