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Book Reviews by Title - O (42)

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Priscilla Sneff
  • Date Published June 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1932195538
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Cyan James
You’re in an abandoned house. The floorboards are damp and creak under you – what was the reason, again, you decided to go bare-footed? And once in a while something brushes against your face. Sometimes it’s the stray end of a cobweb, sometimes the rusty pull-chain to the chandelier. Sometimes you don’t know. Of course, the lights don’t work. You’re not quite ready to leave, but you’re starting to look for a way out. Sometimes you find stairs going up to strange cupboards; other times the stairs bear you down into musty basements.
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  • Book Type Anthology edited
  • by Lorin Stein, Sadie Stein
  • Date Published October 2012
  • ISBN-13 9781250005984
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 368pp
  • Price $16.00
  • Review by Michael Caylo-Baradi
A book can be judged by its cover, partially. This book is perfect example. The words Object Lessons: The Paris Review Presents the Art of the Short Story and the image of a typewriter below them compressed into a singular message for me: MFA in fiction. Even before opening the book, the cover tells me its target audience is creative writers, or more so, creative writers who are in a writing program, aspiring to be in one, used to be in one, are teaching in one, are about to teach in one, or believe you can’t teach creative writing, and thus look down on writing programs. But whether you stand by that idea or not, there’s a growing trend in that these programs, academies, or institutes are sprouting around the globe. To name three, out of many: the City University of Hong Kong’s MFA in Creative Writing in English was launched in 2010, and considers itself “The only MFA with an Asian Focus.” In the UK, the Faber and Faber publishing house started Faber Academy in 2008, and promotes the idea that “publishers know what writers need.” And in City University of New York’s The Writers’ Institute at the Graduate Center, its director—novelist André Aciman—has brought in editors from publications and publishers such as Granta; Harper’s; Knopf; The New Yorker; Farrar, Straus and Giroux; and, yes, The Paris Review to facilitate its writing workshops, in fiction and nonfiction.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by J. Hope Stein
  • Date Published February 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9982666-1-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 37pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Cheyanne Gustason

Picking up Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain Through Your Nose for the first time, I was immediately surprised. The title alone is enough to catch the eye and make you wonder: What does it mean? How serious can this be? How literal?

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  • Book Type Edited
  • by Nate Liederbach, James Harris
  • Date Published February 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9844510-4-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 412pp
  • Price $24.00
  • Review by C.J. Opperthauser
In a competitive field such as creative writing, where anybody who's anybody needs to make their name a brand, this anthology makes the monstrous crowds a family, pairing mentor with student. Each person introduces somebody else, and gives some refreshingly personal insider information on how they met and who they are. Instead of a wimpy, some-odd-word-count biography stuck in the back, the reader is provided with a backstory, making the entire collection significantly more personal.
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  • Book Type Novel
  • by Emil Hakl
  • Translated From Czech
  • by Marek Tomin
  • Date Published September 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-8086264301
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 154pp
  • Price $14.50
  • Review by Cynthia Reeser
Translated from Czechoslovakian by the noted curator, producer and journalist Marek Tomin, Emil Hakl’s Of Kids and Parents received a Magnesia Litera Book of the Year award in 2003 and has been made into a feature film. With the English version debuting this year from the Prague-based publisher Twisted Spoon Press, this engrossing book is worth checking out.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Michael Donhauser
  • Translated From the German
  • by Nick Hoff and Andrew Joron
  • Date Published 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-936194-20-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 128pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Ryo Yamaguchi
Michael Donhauser is an accomplished Austrian poet, essayist, and critic whose books date back nearly thirty years, but he is not widely known to English readers. It makes him a great candidate for Dichten—Burning Deck’s translation series, which brings this rich and varied collection, Of Things (first published in German nearly twenty years ago), to a needed new audience. It’s a dizzyingly varied work, finely translated by Nick Hoff and Andrew Joron. It is philosophically poised but historically informed, personal, scientific, whimsical, and serious—showcasing a real rucksack of literary tools that Donhauser brings into the field with him to sketch, like the plein air painter, his subjects.
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  • Book Type Prose/Poetry
  • by Kim Chinquee
  • Date Published February 2008
  • ISBN-13 978-0979192180
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $13.95
  • Review by Ryan Call
Those familiar with the writing of Kim Chinquee will be pleased to read the seventy-four flash fictions and prose poems collected in her book, Oh Baby, not only for the satisfaction of revisiting a few select, memorable pieces, but also for the opportunity to see Chinquee work at length, crafting with a spare and precise language the most complicated, emotional stories possible per page.
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  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Dennis Must
  • Date Published January, 2007
  • ISBN-13 978-1597090582
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Sarah Sala
Dennis Must’s stories are at times both unsettling and tremblingly genuine, and once the reader gives herself over to them, worth consideration. Not that stories about immolation, cross-dressing, prostitutes, Bible study beauty pageants, family, and loss normally aren’t. It’s just that the stories come on slow, and before you know it, you’re sitting in your living room pondering whether you should be imagining a grieving widower dressing up in his dead wife’s clothing.
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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Vi Khi Nao
  • Date Published May 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-1-937658-48-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 80pp
  • Price $15.95
  • Review by Trena Machado

Vi Khi Nao, born in Long Khanh, Vietnam in 1979, came to the United States when she was seven years old. In her book, The Old Philosopher, she has given us poems in vigorous experimental language. Reading through the book the first time, there is a feeling of a balanced worldly eye, even as the pervasive indistinctness of mixed and matched images/metaphors leaves a sense of no orientation. By the third reading, the seemingly unmoored fragments begin to come into focus: the book feels like the interlacing of two cultures initiated by the wreckage of the Vietnam War.

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  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Daniele Pantano
  • Date Published April 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-098263187-6-7
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 88pp
  • Price $14.00
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
Daniele Pantano is a Swiss poet, translator, critic, editor, and Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at Edge Hill University in England. Work from this volume was published in numerous journals and anthologies in the U.K., Germany, Italy, Australia, Switzerland, Canada, and the U.S.
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