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Book Reviews by Title - F (46)

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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Anis Shivani
  • Date Published November 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936196-04-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 296pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Lydia Pyne
In his preface, Anis Shivani claims that The Fifth Lash & Other Stories is a collection of fiction that is fundamentally the work of a young man. He quickly points the reader to the collection’s immaturities—the anger of the narrators, the stylistic experimentation from story to story, transient identities of characters, and even the youthful rawness of emotions crammed into the assemblage as a whole. Indeed, The Fifth Lash was Shivani’s first collection (later publications include Anatolia and Other Stories as well as his poetry in My Tranquil War and Other Poems), but the poignancy of these sketches deserves more than to simply stand in the shadow of his earlier published—yet later written—work.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Patrick Michael Finn
  • Date Published July 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0982622896
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 220pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Ryan Wilson
Winner of the 2009 Hudson Prize, Patrick Michael Finn’s short story collection From the Darkness Right Under Our Feet includes plenty of dark circumstances, all set in the industrial sinkhole of Joliet, Illinois in the mid- to late 20th century. The stories are of the type popular in the early 20th century literature, when American Naturalism dominated the landscape. Every character’s fate feels pre-determined, based upon heredity and social conditioning.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Michael Rattee
  • Date Published February 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9822495-5-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 64pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Caleb Tankersley
The latest collection from Michael Rattee, Falling off the Bicycle Forever, is a smooth, two-wheel ride through your nearest suburban neighborhood; if you don’t pay close enough attention, you’ll miss the subtleties of this book’s sedentary life, the thick underlay of muck beneath the gilded exterior of the American Dream.
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  • Book Type Stories
  • by Dawn Raffel
  • Date Published March 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9767177-9-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $14.95
  • Review by Sara C. Rauch
Dawn Raffel's newest collection of short stories, Further Adventures in the Restless Universe, is an intriguing look at relationships. The spare, unfussy prose explores familial boundaries, the complicated connections between mothers and their children, sisters, aunts and great aunts, husbands and wives. The mundane matters of every day existence – taking a child to a museum or carving a pumpkin, a phone call to catch up, a day spent at the beach, learning to drive – fill up Raffel's prose; each story occupies only a few pages (in some cases only one), but each moment captured by her prose completely fills up the whole space.
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  • Book Type Nonfiction
  • by John Morgan
  • Date Published June 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-907056-91-8
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 166pp
  • Price $21.95
  • Review by Cheryl Wright-Watkins
This book is ostensibly an essay collection, but poet and creative writing teacher John Morgan has also filled the pages with poems, biographical information, journal entries, book reviews, interviews, and reading and writing instruction. These various elements within the same volume combine to create an intimate portrait of the poet and his spirituality, teaching methods, family life, writing practice, and interactions with nature and place.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Boris Pintar
  • Translated From Slovene
  • by Rawley Grau
  • Date Published December 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-58498-070-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 138pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Laura Pryor
Boris Pintar’s Family Parables is not light reading. Don’t take it with you to the beach or on the airplane. The stories, most of them dark and sinister, need your full, undivided attention. And even then, you may find yourself asking: what just happened?
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  • Book Type Edited
  • by Kim Roberts
  • Date Published December 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9778243-6-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $20.00
  • Review by Kimberly L. Becker
If anthology means a “gathering of flowers,” then Full Moon on K Street: Poems about Washington, DC is a resplendent bouquet accompanying editor Kim Roberts’s “love letter” to the City. 101 contemporary poems by current and former Washington residents honor the literary diversity of a city rich with history: “all these centuries we drag into the next century and the next,” writes Sarah Browning in “The Fifth Fact.”
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Kelcey Parker
  • Date Published February 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-888553-55-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 144pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Elena Spagnolie
Though Kelcey Parker’s collection of short stories, For Sale By Owner, falls comfortably into the genre of discontented housewife lit—tackling subjects such as the disillusionment of a “perfect” marriage, the depression that often accompanies excessive material wealth, or the fantasies people create to distract themselves from reality—it stands out in that it has distinctly well-developed characters who are crafted with beautiful depth. Parker’s writing is thoughtful and highly literary, and she pulls readers into the disappointment of her characters’ lives while maintaining a sense of wry humor and irony. For example, in the short story “Best Friend Forever Attends a Baby Shower,” Parker describes the ache of social rejection and the growling bitterness it inspires:
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  • Book Type Cross-Genre
  • by Richard Froude
  • Date Published February 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-982989609
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 112pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Michael Flatt
One could describe Richard Froude’s FABRIC as a meditation on memory presented in prose poetry, but this description would elide too many deeply interesting facets of the work. While working from the basis of a consideration of memory’s inherent virtues and flaws, FABRIC creates a space within that consideration for the inspired moment. By “inspired,” I mean several things: the invented, the possibly mistaken, the obsessive, and the associative.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Gleb Shulpyakov
  • Translated From Russian
  • by Christopher Mattison
  • Date Published April 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0982237670
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 168pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Renee Emerson
Unlike much poetry in translation that seems to lose its flavor and to blend together into the bland, uniform “translated” voice, Christopher Mattison’s translation of Gleb Shulpyakov retains his unique voice and undeniable cultural heritage. Some poems emphasize his foreignness, with references to Russian history and culture, such as, on page 17, when the poem references “Suvorov’s infantry,” “beards from Vladimir,” and the phrase “From Moscow to Podolsk no Pasternak could find / the way through such weather.” Leaving in these cultural markers adds an air of authenticity and believability to the work, and, most importantly, ensures the preservation of the poet’s original voice.
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