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NewPages Book Reviews

Reviews of newly published and forthcoming independent press and university press titles.

Posted December 03, 2018

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Kirstin Allio
  • Date Published October 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-60938-596-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 284pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by Cody Lee

This book is tough. Buddhism for Western Children is a novel about a ten-year-old boy and his family, who drive from Halifax, Canada to Maine in order to meet and live with Avadhoot Master King Ivanovich, spiritual guru. It’s not a light, beach read, but a pearl that takes time. I will go ahead and say that it might irritate you a bit. There aren’t many quotation marks—and plenty of people speak throughout the novel—but once that epiphany sparks, the fact that the ten-year-old boy (Daniel) is just as perplexed, if not more, Buddhism for Western Children becomes this unbelievable, almost method-acted attempt to convey sensory overload.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jasmine Gibson
  • Date Published July 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937658-83-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 96pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by DM O'Connor
      Where is it
Considered
      Good fortune
          Not to have been raped
              Capitalism has made ever season
      Cancer season

              – from “How the dead rose from their graves”

Jasmine Gibson’s debut collection, published by Nightboat Books, Don’t Let Them See Me Like This is an incendiary epistle to a failed world.

  • Subtitle A Memoir
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Micah McCrary
  • Date Published September 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-4962-0786-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 168pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Vivian Wagner

Island in the City: A Memoir is composed of a series of interrelated essays about identity by Micah McCrary. These essays interrogate what it means to be black, queer, and middle-class, even as they question the stability and meaning of those categories themselves.

  • Subtitle A Book of Friendship
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Sarah Ruhl & Max Ritvo
  • Date Published September 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-57131-369-0
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 336pp
  • Price $26.00
  • Review by Cody Lee

For the most part, my copy of Letters from Max is unmarked. No circles around words with lines leading to other circled words. Minimal scrawls in the margins. This is due to the simple fact that I never wanted to stop reading in order to pick up a pen.

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by J. Michael Martinez
  • Date Published October 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-01-43133445
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by DM O'Connor
of nameless Mexicans desired only as epistles

      anchored in their death;
      the dialect between Self

      as Subject & Self

      as Object separated by panes of clarity
      into softer yellows.
                  –from “The Mexican War Photo Postcard Company”

The National Poetry Series Winner, Museum of The Americas by J. Michael Martinez is culmination of erudite research, family history, and a dismantling of the originations of American racial constructs, especially along the U.S.-Mexican border since The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) and the present day, where labelling humans “illegal” and “alien” is common government practice.

  • Subtitle A Granddaughter’s Search for Her Family’s Forbidden Nazi Past
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Julie Lindahl
  • Date Published October 2018
  • ISBN-13 978-1-5381-1193-2
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 256pp
  • Price $24.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

Imagine discovering that the grandparents you adored as a young child were Nazis, and your grandfather was responsible for untold cruelties. That’s exactly what happened to Julie Lindahl, a Brazilian-born American who now lives in Sweden. She spent years traveling abroad seeking the truth about her mother’s German father, whom she called Opa. The Pendulum: A Granddaughter’s Search for her Family’s Forbidden Nazi Past is Lindahl’s memoir of her findings and her search for understanding.

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