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NewPages Book Reviews

Reviews of newly published and forthcoming
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Posted January 03, 2019

  • Subtitle An American Pharma Memoir
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Sarah Fawn Montgomery
  • Date Published September 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8142-5486-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 320pp
  • Price $23.95
  • Review by Vivian Wagner

Sarah Fawn Montgomery’s new book, Quite Mad: An American Pharma Memoir, is an in-depth exploration of the ways mental illness is defined and treated, both historically and in the contemporary world. She looks at how our culture simultaneously creates and condemns its maladies, and she offers a glimpse of how the conundrums and contradictions surrounding mental illness can be deconstructed and unraveled.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kai Carlson-Wee
  • Date Published April 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-942683-58-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor
Rail is epic. Yes, another barbaric yawp in the American song to the self. Full of food stamps and freight trains, Trader Joe’s dumpster diving, bullet shells in sewer drains, brotherhood, and prescription pills for depression, this collection is Kerouac, Ginsberg, Whitman, Sandburg, and O’Hara for the selfie generation.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Timmy Waldron
  • Date Published July 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9994617-3-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 145pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

If you’re looking for a break from the tensions in today’s political climate, pick up a copy of Timmy Waldron’s new book, Stories for People Who Watch TV. He’s compiled nine stories, eight of which have already risen to the top of slush piles to be published in literary magazines. The ninth might also stand a good chance, so let’s start with that one, titled “Ouroboros.”

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by J.L. Powers
  • Date Published January 2019
  • ISBN-13 978-1-941026-04-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Denise Hill

Under Water is the sequel to J.L Powers’ 2012 novel This Thing Called the Future. Despite the six-year interval between episodes, I hadn’t forgotten Khosi; her little sister Zi; and Little Man, childhood friend and blossoming love interest of Khosi’s. Within the first few pages of the book, I had been brought right back into their lives, immediately following the death of Khosi’s mother and then grandmother. This Thing Called the Future endeared me to the no-nonsense Khosi and the hard choices she was faced with making in her life, as well as the realities of how she knew—or didn’t know—those closest to her. Under Water moves seamlessly from that first piece of South African life into this continuation, which is just as relentlessly hard-edged and heartfelt.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Gabriel Houck
  • Date Published July 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9964397-8-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 174pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor
Winner of the 2017 Orison Fiction Prize, the debut story collection You or a Loved One by Gabriel Houck is sharp, witty, insightful, and truculent. Exposing the underbelly of a post-Katrina Louisiana full of deadbeats, bayou, and folks just trying to survive, the stories swivel between interlinked-stacked flash fiction, script-like treatments for short films, and interior examinations of beautifully flawed characters. The linking thread is that nothing is spoon-fed. Most conclude with blunt endings that leave room for speculation. With vast un-signaled leaps in narrative time and reader-please-speculate-where-to-connect-the-dots, Houck has created a collection where saying less means more, where the randomness of life can be examined, where layers build to great pay-off.
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