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Book Reviews by Title - C (88)

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  • Book Type Graphic Novel
  • by Martin Vaughn-James
  • Date Published October 2013
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 192pp
  • Price $22.95
  • Review by Elizabeth O'Brien
Martin Vaughn-James’ The Cage, a graphic novel originally published in 1975, was re-released by Coach House Books at the end of last year in a new edition which includes introductions from the author and Canadian cartoonist Seth. Interestingly, both artists try to explain what The Cage is ultimately about in their introductions.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Kate Greenstreet
  • Date Published 2011
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 24pp
  • Review by Jeremy Benson
The Battleship Potemkin, either the film or the ship itself—the allusion, in any case—makes its appearance early on in Kate Greenstreet’s single-poem chapbook, Called: “First we hear it. Trucks, helicopters. The / Battleship Potemkin. He’s building the shape.” Throughout the poem, Greenstreet works in concise stanzas such as this, each image and line constructed with a controlled hand. As such, the Potemkin is no toss-away detail. Its facts and mythology, of restless soldiers and fledging revolutions, and of propaganda, get bundled and pulled into the poem, while calling to mind the montage theories made standard by director Sergei Eisenstein, the great-grandfather of all modern film editing techniques.
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  • Book Type Young Adult Fication
  • by Maia Appleby
  • Date Published December 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1927004029
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 183pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Aimee Nicole
Calyx of Teversall will entice you from the first sentence to the very last. Maia Appleby’s prose ensnares the reader in a fictional world that is both interesting and realistic at the same time. She plays off of what the young reader is already familiar with in order to structure this fantasy world full of gnomes and elves. In the beginning, we learn that Sigrid is recently widowed and struggling to make ends meet. Her husband maintained a wheat field that she now undertakes, and her three-year-old son Charlie braids the wheat. When Fenbeck, secretly a Borgh Elf, arrives and strikes a deal, Sigrid has no choice but to accept. Fenbeck magically turns many times the normal crop yield and accepts no payment but asserts that Charlie must work for him when he turns nine for one year.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Jean-Philippe Toussaint
  • Translated From French
  • by Matthew B. Smith
  • Date Published November 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56478-522-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 122pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Josh Maday
In the geology of Jean-Philippe Toussaint’s career and development as a writer, his third novel, Camera, is easily placed in the same strata as his debut, The Bathroom. However, Camera is funnier and more romantic (in the nameless narrator’s weird way). The book opens:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Joshua Edwards; Photography by Van Edwards
  • Date Published April 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-93489-19-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 109pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Marcus Myers
Joshua Edwards and Van Edwards’ Campeche, an ekphrastic collection of poems and photographs, meditates on the self as a song caught within the larger music of the world in decline. The book has a unique architecture, which derives its structure from both its historical setting and subtle references to ancient Greek and Judeo-Christian apocrypha. Arranged in seven sections, and consisting of thirty poems (three of which are translations) and forty photographs, the book launches its lyrical flights over Galveston Island, grounding symbolic expression in a real place already imbued with intrigue—the 18th century pirate Jean Lafitte, a man without a nation-state to call home, named this island “Campeche.”
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Nazik Saba Yared
  • Translated From Arabic
  • by Nadine Sinno
  • Date Published April 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0815609377
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 151pp
  • Price $22.95
  • Review by Laura Di Giovine
Huda Al-Mukhtar lives in a world full of fragile yet vivid memories – of a city before it was torn apart by war and bloodshed; of a loving marriage before it dissolved into two strangers; of a daughter before she was forced to choose between parents.
  • Subtitle Essays on Travel
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Kevin Oderman
  • Date Published July 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-0989753289
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 238pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Rachel King
In these eleven essays that make up Cannot Stay: Essays on Travel, Kevin Oderman journeys widely: from Latvia to Italy to Turkey; from Indonesia to Cambodia to Vietnam. Oderman does not feign to completely absorb the cultures in which he travels. Who could in a week or a month? No, he does something better; he delves into an aspect or a couple aspects of a culture or its history. These aspects—whether a painting, a dance, a temple, a house, or a puppets show—he describes so intricately that, while I read, his obsessions became my obsessions, and, when I finished, I remembered my own obsessions, and was inspired to explore them with the same kind of passion and precision.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Nick Flynn
  • Date Published February 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-574-6
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $22.00
  • Review by Caleb Tankersley
Well worth the wait his many fans have endured, Nick Flynn’s first collection since 2002—The Captain Asks for a Show of Hands—reasserts his reputation as a champion of contemporary American poetry. As the book tackles leading-edge themes such as torture, bodily release, and moral ambiguity by drawing from expansive media and world culture, you begin to realize that these are not your grandpa’s self-referential, literary canon poems. Flynn is influenced by poetry of the past (most notably with the repetition of Whitman’s “oh captain, my captain”), but he also draws from movies, music (I caught Arcade Fire and Britney Spears; I’m sure there’s more), and world events. The strong and subtle messages concerning the Iraq War and the torturing of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other instances lend an uncomfortably gritty realism to the collection; I doubt any reader will be able to finish “seven testimonies (redacted)” and the accompanying notes without shuddering; I couldn’t. I also couldn’t remember the last time a collection of poetry made me shudder.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Lisa Gill
  • Date Published May 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-98226968-5-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Richard Oyama
If a writer addresses conditions of extremity, does that exempt the work from critique, putting it somehow beyond the pale? Objectivist poet Charles Reznikoff wrote Holocaust, a volume based on testimony from the Nuremberg Trials. There were times when it seemed to me that collection lacked what Gabriel Garcia Marquez considered a first condition for literature: “poetic transfiguration of reality.”
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  • Book Type Anthology Edited
  • by Jane Ormerod, Thomas Fucaloro, David Lawton, George Wallace, Russ Green
  • Date Published August 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9857317-9-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 188pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by Valerie Wieland

The mystifying title of this anthology—The Careless Embrace of the Boneshaker—calls for an explanation, which is forthcoming in the introduction. “Here are writers claiming who they are and screaming it from the top of their lungs. They are the boneshakers. [ . . . ] Like the 19th century bicycle prototype from which they get their name, they have no means of shock absorption.”

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