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Book Reviews by Title - M (112)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Mary Molinary
  • Date Published August 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936797-23-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Andrea Dulberger
One challenge with reading poetry that seems to be creating its own forms for what it is seeing and expressing is the tension between the urge to absorb the work as it is presented and an urge to search for clues—to go digging in, and perhaps between, the lines. On my first read through Mary Molinary’s Mary & the Giant Mechanism, I jotted little notes to myself and often thought, “hmmm . . .” On my second read-through, I mostly flipped through the pages at random, sometimes reading sections out of order, and thought “Ohh!” I think one of the successes of this poet’s first book of poetry is that it did compel me to go searching for larger “mechanisms” (to echo the title) that link the images and themes presented here.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Megan Harland
  • Date Published November 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-886157-77-4
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 66pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
Mapmaking is last year’s winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, awarded annually by the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s BkMk Press. Harland’s book was selected by Sidney Wade, who praises the book as “imaginative writing at its best.” These are quiet poems, by which I mean they are never ostentatious or particularly bold or inventive. And they do not pretend to be. They rely instead, and successfully, on powerfully insightful and compact instances of poetic precision and emotional and philosophical acuity. “Picture a New York gone infinite, // a little pearly,” Harland writes; understand a morning as having “a bird’s worth of restlessness”; and a fossil is a perfume; and walking on Clare Island, the poet traverses “a place that lived beyond its future.”
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Danielle Collobert
  • Translated From French
  • by Nathanaël
  • Date Published April 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933959-17-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 104pp
  • Price $18.00
  • Review by Courtney McDermott
Murder is hard to describe. Written in 1964 by Danielle Collobert, it has recently been translated by Nathanaël. Is Murder a series of prose poems? Vignettes strung together? A novella? And who is the story about? Who is the story for? To decode how to read Collobert’s work, examine the first line: “It’s strange this encounter with the internal eye, behind the keyhole, that sees, and finds the external eye, caught in flagrante delicto of vision, curiosity, uncertainty.” Collobert reveals the interior worlds of people through their external motions, their external grasping at memories shared. This story is both in and outside of itself.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Jac Jemc
  • Date Published May 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936873-68-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 194pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by David Breithaupt
Jac Jemc has written a novel so wonderful that if it were a dish served at a social event, I would ask the hostess for the recipe. If I were to place the various ingredients which make up this book I might say a dash of Kafka, maybe a pinch of those new wave French writers like Robbe-Grillet, and a tablespoon of Andre Breton’s classic “A Mad Love.” Mix it all up and place between two covers. Become horizontal, relax, and serve.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Graciela Limón
  • Date Published April 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1558857421
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 240pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Patricia Contino
Her story reads like fiction. In 1864 Napoleon III and sentimental Mexican royalists re-established a Mexican monarchy, placing the Austrian Prince Maximilian and his Belgian wife Carlota as rulers. The move, in hindsight as grotesque as the gaudy art and fashion of Napoleon’s era, was extremely unpopular in the Americas. Following the Civil War, the American government supported an uprising spearheaded by lawyer/reformer Benito Juarez. The puppet monarchy was overthrown in 1867, and Maximilian was executed. Carlota escaped, never recovered from a subsequent nervous breakdown, and lived in a castle serving as an asylum until the age of 87.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Ray Ragosta
  • Date Published September 2013
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936194-15-5
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Kelly M. Sylvester
Ray Ragosta’s refreshing style of writing in A Motive for Disappearance prominently features sparse lines in what are typically short poems. Upon a second read-through of this book, a few lines from two of the pieces jumped out at me as Ragosta’s built-in description of his own work: “Their tales, a perfect infection of memory” and
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  • Book Type Memoir
  • by Nancy Agabian
  • Date Published October 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-1879960794
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 243pp
  • Price $12.95
  • Review by Ryan Call
Toward the end of her memoir, the richly titled Me As Her Again, Nancy Agabian writes:
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  • Book Type YA novel
  • by Mary Ann McGuigan
  • Date Published February 2009
  • ISBN-13 978-1-59078-551-5
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 200pp
  • Price $17.95
  • Review by Jessica Powers
The year is 1963. Yolanda and Fiona have already been friends for two weeks, and Yolanda is in the hospital because some thugs came looking for Fiona’s brother’s stash of drugs. The two aren’t supposed to be friends. Yolanda is black, Fiona is white. But here they are, and Fiona is helping Yolanda escape from the hospital before they release her. Yolanda wants to run away before her mother arrives, her mother who is traveling up from South Carolina, where she lives now, and who is planning to take Yolanda back to South Carolina to live with her. So the two girls sneak out of the hospital, where a distressed woman asks them to watch her dog so she can take her son to see her dying mother. And this is how their adventure begins.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by David Galef
  • Date Published December 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1934819036
  • Format Chapbook
  • Pages 54pp
  • Price $7.00
  • Review by Rav Grewal-Kök
“Beware the impractical man,” warns the narrator of the title story of David Galef’s chapbook collection of short and flash fiction: “Their wives either cherish or divorce them, and their sons and daughters, in reaction, often grow commonsensical and a little costive.” That’s funny, but we shouldn’t miss the menacing undercurrent. The unfortunate ideas of Bernardo Lazar – a backyard smelter, a “Reaction Recovery” device, and “a project about giant vegetables” – put his wife and young children through a comic set of trials. So light is Galef’s touch that we hardly notice, until the final sentence, that the Lazar family has come undone.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Sergio Ramírez
  • by Michael B. Miller
  • Date Published September 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1931896412
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 340pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Rav Grewal-Kök
The prolific Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramírez is almost unknown in this country. Only a handful of his thirty or so books have been translated into English, and just two appear to be in print in the United States, including Margarita, How Beautiful the Sea, which won the Alfaguara Prize, a major Spanish literary award, a decade ago. Margarita, translated by Michael B. Miller, is an ambitious, sweeping and beguiling work whose action spans more than half a century. With its huge cast of poets, journalists, generals, intelligence agents, failed cotton barons, whiskey priests, dictators, and many others (a character list at the end of the book runs eight pages and contains 75 names), it is a Nicaraguan national epic.
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