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Book Reviews by Title - D (78)

  • Subtitle A Father, His Daughter, and the Great Books of the Western World
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Matt Burriesci
  • Date Published June 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-63228-017-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 250pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Valerie Wieland
If you half-snoozed through the classics at school, reading Matt Burriesci’s Dead White Guys is a shrewd way to refresh your knowledge. The book is subtitled A Father, His Daughter and the Great Books of the Western World. It includes visits to philosophers and storytellers such as Plato and Plutarch, Montaigne and Shakespeare, John Locke, Adam Smith and other notables. Author Matt Burriesci deftly combines their teachings with his own experiences and ideas to equip his daughter with lessons for a good life.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Khaty Xiong
  • Date Published November 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934832-46-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 42pp
  • Price $9.00
  • Review by Dana Johnson
Even before turning the first page of Khaty Xiong’s beautifully composed chapbook Deer Hour, we are given a visual clue as to what we’ll find inside. The cover image shows a large and noble buck suspended between an expanse of grey sky above and yellow field below. The animal, balanced between the two seemingly endless landscapes, defies and resists enclosure. Much the same way, Xiong’s poems refuse to be confined to definitive beginnings and endings, and instead hover, suspended on each page.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Aaron Apps
  • Date Published January 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-934103-57-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Trena Machado
“This letter is about our lives simultaneously, and the mess of memories and body parts that emerges from our selves.” Thus writes the contemporary narrator to Herculine Barbin, an intersexed person born 1838, given a surgical sex reassignment which led to his/her suicide at twenty-nine in 1868. There are about fifteen ways to have an intersexed body, from not XX (female) and not XY (male) to complete gonadal dysgenesis. An intersexed body automatically makes one an intersexed person. The intersexed person does not fall within the guidelines of the social organization based on the clear-cut sexes, male and female, which, in turn, is amenable to the prescribed roles of gender.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Magda Szabó
  • Translated From the Hungarian
  • by Len Rix
  • Date Published January 2015
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59017-771-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 280pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Olive Mullet
Magda Szabó wrote this well-known Hungarian classic in 1987, and fortunately The New York Review of Books reissued it with an excellent introduction by Ali Smith. The novel is about the relationship between a young writer (the narrator) and her husband with their housecleaner Emerence, who proves to be so much more than that. The book could be viewed as autobiographical because the narrator, now a famous writer, is looking back on herself as young when she first met the old woman Emerence who announces, “I don’t wash just anyone’s dirty laundry.” She arrives at the apartment wearing, as she always does, a headscarf covering her hair and face like a veil. Hiding herself, the headscarf serves as the equivalent of Emerence’s locked door at her own villa.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Maceo Montoya
  • Date Published February 2014
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8263-5436-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 224pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Audrey Quinn
After reading the title, I had a feeling that The Deportation of Wopper Barraza would be about someone named Wopper Barraza who, for some reason, was deported from the United States. (Clearly, astute powers of deduction were at work.) However, after the first few chapters, I wasn’t sure whether or not we would be following Wopper or if he would be a symbolic figure since the early chapters aren’t actually told from Wopper’s perspective. What soon became clear was that the narrative structure of the novel was going to be an experimental, often playful, journey through the minds of people affected by Wopper’s deportation, including, at times, Wopper, himself. What I originally thought could be a clunky narrative style quickly proved to be a delightful, multi-dimensional foray into the immigration experience from both sides of the Mexican-American border.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Rosmarie Waldrop
  • Date Published November 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8112-1879-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 133pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
Waldrop, co-founder and publisher of Burning Deck Books, an extraordinary translator, and an accomplished poet whose work I have always found utterly breathtaking, just keeps getting better. I admire Waldrop’s lyrical stamina—she sustains long series of related poems with impeccable control over every syllable, there is nothing superfluous, careless, or casual—and her ability to ground the abstract and abstract from the grounded, from the world of objects and circumstances (driven, as she is, to abstraction).
Davis Schneiderman vividly creates a desolate and backward futuristic word in his novel Drain – a world that is made all the more terrifying for its uncanny resemblance to our own. Part sci-fi/fantasy (though certainly not the kind you want your kids to read), part psychological thriller, and part commentary on contemporary religion and politics, Drain follows numerous paths and occasionally fights the urge to draw extraneous ideas into its already-teeming domain.
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  • Book Type Edited by
  • by D.A. Powell, Kevin Prufer
  • Date Published June 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9641454-1-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 183pp
  • Price $12.99
  • Review by Caleb Tankersley
The contemporary American literary scene is as vibrant and diverse as any other art community; thousands of writers and millions of readers participate and interact on a daily basis. But looking back to any past period of the community – say the 1940s and 50s, somewhere in the layover between modernism and postmodernism – the world of letters looks sparse. One can’t help but imagine that literary circles must surely have been as wide and broad as they currently are. But it feels as if so few writers have lasted even such a meager sum of time. We’re often led to believe that there’s a reason past artists fall into obscurity. D. A. Powell and Kevin Prufer prove that notion wrong.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by Chad Faries
  • Date Published June 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9830226-2-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 254pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Holly Zemsta
It takes a while to settle into Chad Faries' Drive Me Out of My Mind: 24 Houses in 10 Years. A memoir that chronicles the author's itinerant childhood, the book devotes a chapter (including a foreword and afterword, as well as three unnumbered “lost chapters”) to each childhood home. The book's format is important, as it provides structure for the narrative events, flights of fantasy, poetic imagery, and dreams contained therein.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Katie Phillips
  • Date Published 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9820626-3-0
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 41pp
  • Price $12.00
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
There are only 500 copies of this priceless little postcard book and I am the proud owner of #161. Reminiscent of the linked postcard books available on those little turning stands in shops and drugstores and souvenir outlets in tourist towns, the top-bound spiral book of photos (all but the title page by Ron Rapp were taken by the poet) and poems was the winner of the press’s 2010 chapbook competition. The poems are stark little stories that match the landscapes depicted. They reflect the same sense of poetic sensitivity and originality the poet demonstrates in her title’s punctuation (that extraordinary comma).
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