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NewPages Book Reviews

Posted September 1, 2014

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Wendy Jones
  • Date Published March 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-185-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 272pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by Olive Mullet
The title of this debut novel by Wendy Jones, The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price Purveyor of Superior Funerals, suggests a fun, light, old-fashioned read, which it partly is. But it also deals with serious, timeless subjects, though the resolution reflects the time wherein the novel takes place: 1924, in the small Welsh town of Narberth.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Anthony McCann
  • Date Published September 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933517-96-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 128pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Elizabeth O’Brien
“The Day,” the first poem Anthony McCann’s latest poetry collection, Thing Music, from Wave Books, begins:

In this coupling
     of speech
  where everything
begins     where
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  • Book Type Hardcover
  • by Jane Gardam
  • Date Published June 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60945-199-8
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 476pp
  • Price $26.95
  • Review by Olive Mullet
The Stories of Jane Gardam will delight Gardam’s fans, who may find something new here. Unlike Gardam’s most famous novel Old Filth, but not unlike the ending of the third book in her trilogy Last Friends, these stories explore what may not be real. They also hold the element of mystery, fantasy, and surprise endings. Spanning from 1977 to 2007, these stories give a broader overview of Gardam’s talents, her favorite themes very visible.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Ellen Kaufman
  • Date Published February 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-927409-25-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 94pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by André T. Demers
In Ellen Kaufman’s House Music, the reader is invited to come in, have a seat, and get comfortable. There are no grandiose declarations or flighty vagaries to spin the reader off into the cosmos; Kaufman’s use of plain, honest verse and precise language establishes order and a warm sense of familiarity to her subjects and places. Kaufman treats us to her company and wit without imposition, as the readers become guests beneath the roof of her memories and imagination.
  • Subtitle New Perspectives on Ernest Hemingway’s Early Life and Writings
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  • Book Type Nonfiction Edited
  • by Steve Paul, Gail Sinclair, & Steven Trout
  • Date Published January 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1606351758
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 276pp
  • Price $65.00
  • Review by Lydia Pyne
Hemingway’s literary world is nothing if not well-studied. Between 1917 -1929, Ernest Hemingway’s early adult years are marked with journalism, war, marriage, expatriation, and his own struggles as a writer attempting to make inroads into the growing scene of European literati. Where most scholarly work has focused on Hemingway’s personal journey in his literary career, the surrounding contexts of his work are less emphasized. In War + Ink: New Perspectives on Ernest Hemingway’s Early Life and Writings, editors Steve Paul, Gail Sinclair, and Steven Trout focus on the social and cultural histories of Hemingway’s early work, highlighting detail from a swarm of Hemingway scholars.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Ajay Vishwanathan
  • Date Published June 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1938466403
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 92pp
  • Price $10.95
  • Review by Girija Sankar
Agency is the capacity of an individual to choose and change, a theme that quickly emerges in From a Tilted Pail, Ajay Vishwanathan’s debut collection of short stories. The settings for all seven stories are the villages, shanty towns and interstices of rural India—not, at first, the obvious choice for exemplifying human agency. But, in fact, the stories deal with everyday people, the forgotten ones, the almost forgotten, the maimed, powerless and the despairing. Until, that is, Vishwanathan attends to them with his beautifully crafted prose and coaxes out their voices, narratives, histories and through it all, a sense of agency, in almost poetic form and with an acute appreciation and empathy for lived realities in India.
  • Subtitle Translations and Interpretations of the Ghazals
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Hafez
  • Translated From the Farsi
  • by Geoffrey Squires
  • Date Published March 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-881163-54-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 515pp
  • Price $25.00
  • Review by Patrick James Dunagan
Among modern day Iranians (i.e. Persians) the world-over, the poet Hafez (1315/17-1389/90) remains a household name. His “Divan” (Persian for “Collected Poems”) is found in nearly every household. Every Persian New Year, it is brought out, opened at random, and read from as a means of divination “interpreting what is found there” for what’s to come the following year.

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