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NewPages Book Reviews

Posted November 1, 2012

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Ladislav Klíma
  • Translated From Czech
  • by Marek Tomin
  • Date Published November 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-808626439-4
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 128pp
  • Price $15.80
  • Review by Holly Zemsta
The turbulent life of Czech writer Ladislav Klíma is echoed in one of his works of fiction, Glorious Nemesis. Born in 1878 in Bohemia (today the Czech Republic), Klíma was expelled from school in 1895 after ostensibly insulting the ruling Hapsburgs. From then on, he rejected most aspects of a traditional life, shunning regular employment to live off of inheritance money and publishing royalties. Before he died of tuberculosis in 1928, he destroyed a reputed 90% of his own manuscripts. A great deal of what he wrote was published posthumously.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Mathias Nelson
  • Date Published August 2012
  • ISBN-13 9781935520481
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 164pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Aimee Nicole
When my copy of Dip My Pacifier in Whiskey arrived in the mail, I could not wait to get reading. I don’t tend to judge a book by its cover, but rather by its title. To me, it seemed like a play on the adult child, and it had been awhile since a title instantly hooked me. The book cover is black with red brush strokes, simple but still interesting. Unfortunately, I really struggled to find a solid sample of writing to lure readers to this book of poetry.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Dylan Hicks
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56689-297-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by David Breithaupt
I always judge a book by its cover, and then I check the blurbs. I know, there’s a behind-the-scenes history of blurbing books, friends helping friends, paying back owed favors, etc. But still, the marketing world seems to have zeroed in on what and whom I like. When I saw a turntable on the cover of Dylan Hick’s debut novel, Boarded Windows—well, being of the turntable generation, I was intrigued. Then I checked out the blurbs (Sam Lipsyte, Dana Spiotta, Greil Marcus), and I was hooked. I went home and digested the book.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Mark Brazaitis
  • Date Published August 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-268-02231-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 248pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by Ryan Wilson
Thoughts of death, specifically suicide, dominate Mark Brazaitis’s The Incurables, winner of the Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction. The collection masterfully adds a spoonful of eccentricity however, as the dour characters seem to shrug off their plight, almost as if their strange adventures were as pedestrian as their hometown of Sherman, Ohio.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Anne Bogart
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55936-375-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 360pp
  • Price $22.00
  • Review by Courtney McDermott
In the opening of an interview with director Elizabeth LeCompte, Anne Bogart asks where LeCompte and her company get the permission to create work so “unlike what you see in most theatre.” She responds: “it comes from having a space that’s mine, that’s ours, our very own. So when I start work, there’s not anything that’s saying to me that you have to do this for somebody else. If it doesn’t work, then I don’t owe anybody anything.” Conversations with Anne, a series of twenty-four interviews conducted by Bogart, the artistic director of the SITI Company and professor of the graduate directing program at Columbia University, could be approached with the same mindset—this is a book about having your own space to voice thoughts: thoughts on art, the theatre, human emotion, fragility, strength of character. These interviews, held within a ten-year period after the 9/11 attacks, are all connected in some way to the theatre and the world of performing arts, though this piece is not restricted to the theatre-loving reader.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Pam Durban
  • Date Published October 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0807149720
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 200pp
  • Price $23.00
  • Review by Trena Machado
The Tree of Forgetfulness, by Pam Durban, is the winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award. The novel is based on the true event of the lynching of three blacks in Aiken, South Carolina—a town in which forty-one lynchings had been investigated in the eight years prior to the one in 1926. The characters, fictional, are few: Howard and Libba Aimar and their son, daughter and unborn grandchild; Minnie and Zeke Settles, the Aimars’ black help; Aubrey Timmerman, the sheriff, who does the law his way; and Curtis N. R. Barrett, the New York reporter sent to find who really committed the murders, the three bodies so shot up and burned, they were a horror to view. The Confederate flag, bootleg whisky, the Klan, as well as good Southern manners and antebellum descendants whose heritage of “how it used to be” are all here, but the book is a series of levels moving downward from community to the individual, propelled by the interior dialogue of the characters, until we come to the real story.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Fred Arroyo
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8165-0233-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 180pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Sarah Carson
Don’t let the title of Fred Arroyo’s latest collection of short stories, Western Avenue and Other Fictions, fool you. “Fiction” is hardly the right word for what Arroyo has done here. If these insightful, living, breathing stories are fiction, I’d be hard pressed to imagine what reality must look like.

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