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NewPages Book Reviews

Posted December 7, 2009

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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Peg Herring
  • Date Published January 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59414-842-2
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 346pp
  • Price $25.95
  • Review by Elizabeth Townsend
Being a bit of a history buff, I was excited to read Her Highness’ First Murder by Peg Herring. I must admit that my knowledge of the Tudor period is mostly confined to the early part of Henry VIII’s reign, but even so, I felt as if Herring accurately portrayed the personalities of her characters during the later part of his reign.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Justin Sirois
  • Date Published September 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0982081334
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 60pp
  • Price $8.00
  • Review by John Madera
Excerpted from the novel Falcons on the Floor, Justin Sirois’s MLKNG SCKLS is ostensibly the story of a road trip across a war-torn landscape. Actually, these aren’t excerpts but excised texts, deleted Word documents from narrator Salim Abid’s laptop intended for the novel Abid wrote while escaping from Fallujah to Ramadi with his friend Khalil. Salim’s epistolary accounts are composed on his laptop and are sectioned off by how much remaining battery power his laptop has. It’s a striking metafictional device that evocatively suggests that time may also be literally running out for Salim and Khalil. As Salim’s laptop’s battery power percentage decreases, the characters’ uncertainty increases. At any moment, you think that Salim will get the pop-up balloon saying: “Low Battery: You should change your battery or switch to outlet power immediately to keep from losing your work.”
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Maureen A. Sherbondy
  • Date Published 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59948-186-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 180pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Rachel S. King
My poetry workshop recently concluded all poems are about loss. To a certain extent, all stories are too. Maureen Sherbondy’s short stories in The Slow Vanishing definitely follow this theme. The title is evidence, as are the stories inside. There are vanishing limbs, vanishing mothers, vanishing children, and vanishing commas. In many cases, Sherbondy literalizes an emotional loss. A husband doesn’t just feel like his wife is lost because she isn’t doing her normal routine; she actually is lost, and he has to deal with it. Parents don’t feel like they’ve lost their children when they head out on their own; the children actually fly away. This literalization is a wonderfully imaginative way to tell a story, as well as great way to raise crucial questions about life, and how it can be lived.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Gina Myers
  • Date Published August 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-578-02739-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 74pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Cynthia Reeser
Aside from the eye catching distressed-look cover design of Gina Myers's new poetry collection, A Model Year, one of the endorsement blurbs on the back cover snared my attention. The blurb wherein critically acclaimed poet Joseph Lease assigns to Myers work a "New York school sprezzetura" informed my reading of Myers's collection, which is one good reason I usually forego the reading of such matter until after my initial opinion has been formed. Not so this time.

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