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Book Reviews by Title - C (93)

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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 Sarah O'Brien
  • Date Published September 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-156689-237-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 92pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Gina Myers
Selected by David Shapiro for the National Poetry Series, Sarah O’Brien’s debut book of poetry appears at first glance to be an extended meditation on photography. The collection is divided into seven sections, with each one made up of lyric poems investigating what it means to see something – to capture a moment, even if it’s blurred.
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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 Poetry
  • by L.S. Klatt
  • Date Published March 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-58729-971-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 84pp
  • Price $17.00
  • Review by C.J. Opperthauser
Fellow Michigander L.S. Klatt's newest collection of poems, Cloud of Ink, showcases his abilities with words and his enormous arsenal of them. Without a doubt, my favorite thing about this collection is the surprising diction that shows up in every poem. Given a poem's topic and Klatt's writing style, one can never know what string of exciting and beautiful words might come next. In “Nocturnal Movements of the Porcupine,” we see this in action:
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Trey Moody
  • Date Published November 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934832-26-4
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 27pp
  • Price $9.00
  • Review by Gina Myers
Trey Moody opens his chapbook Climate Reply with a quote from Francis Ponge’s “The Crate” (translated by Margaret Guiton): “Halfway between cage (cage) and cachot (prison cell) the French language has cageot, a simple openwork container for transporting fruits that sicken at the least hint of suffocation.” This idea of something in between, the slight removal or separation—but also the space for breath—pervades the poems that follow, as do the ideas of sickening and suffocation, in this collection that feels markedly Mid-Western, with its open land, its expansive and threatening skies, and its inability to shake its ghosts.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Timothy Donnelly
  • Date Published September 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933517-47-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 147pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Alissa Fleck
With impressively unconventional language, Timothy Donnelly’s The Cloud Corporation explores the inextricable conflict accompanying the acquisition of knowledge and the act of thinking. Many of the book’s poems read like the experience of peering into the mind of someone who spends extensive periods of time alone, musing on the philosophy of the everyday. Donnelly’s speaker often expresses a desire for passiveness—to be removed from the process of thought altogether—or demonstrates an attempt to rationalize spiritual thought and themes with his bleaker version of reality. The poet takes the language and ideas of the spiritual for a fresh spin, even rewriting certain biblical stories to fit with a more modern perspective of commerce and industry. In “Chapter for Breathing Air Among the Waters,” Donnelly epitomizes this prevailing uncertainty of knowledge:
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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 Fiction
  • by Adam Golaski
  • Date Published September 2010
  • ISBN-13 9780984616602
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 209pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Alex Myers
Composed of sixty-three petite fictions, Color Plates combines excellent prose with a unique organizing principle, making this a volume unlike any other. The stories are sorted into four books, each book containing prose relating to an artist: Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and Mary Cassatt. Each of these books contains more than a dozen stories, which take their titles from the names of paintings by the artists – “Woman Fixing Her Stocking,” “The Boating Party,” or “The Dance Class,” for instance. Each title is accompanied by a brief description of the paintings while the stories that follow respond to, recreate, inhabit, and expand the world of these pictures.
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  • Book Type Novella
  • by Tim Horvath
  • Date Published March 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1934513149
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 68pp
  • Price $10.00
  • Review by Jason Hinkley
In his introspective novella Circulation, Tim Horvath devotes special attention to examining the grey areas of modern life where reality and fantasy often meet and the distance between life and death dwindles. In what would best be described as character self-development, Horvath brings the reader face to face with the narrator Jay's dual preoccupations of family connection and recorded knowledge. The self examining nature of Circulation presents the reader with a sympathetic look at these twin pillars of the protagonist's identity, even as Jay begins to slowly tear them down.
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