NewPages.com is news, information, and guides to literary magazines, independent publishers, creative writing programs, alternative periodicals, indie bookstores, writing contests, and more.

Book Reviews by Title - S (147)

  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Gail Wronsky
  • Translated From Spanish
  • by Alicia Partnoy
  • Date Published October 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-0984578207
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 163pp
  • Price $15.50
  • Review by Sima Rabinowitz
If some of us want, and many of us do, to read translations in English of work written in other languages, it stands to reason that readers of other languages—Spanish, for example—might want to read poems written originally in English. Wronsky has translated Argentine poet Partnoy’s poetry into English. With So Quick Bright Things / Tan Pronto las Cosas, it’s Partnoy’s turn, beginning with a title (thank you Shakespeare) that’s brilliantly and awfully hard to translate. I applaud Partnoy for her smart, vivid translations of work that is exceptionally difficult to render in another language.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by Jason Bredle
  • Date Published January 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9841406-1-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 76pp
  • Price $11.95
  • Review by C.J. Opperthauser
This is a book of poems by a man who has very obviously figured out the formula for casual speech, reconstructed it in his own manic way, and added a few pounds of both humor and serious commentary in the process. Smiles of the Unstoppable is a strange, unique collection that is narrative-driven and conversational. The words are not poetic in nature, really, but the flow, the careful repetitions, and the masterful line-breaks are evidence of a language-commander being behind the helm. The humor pulls the collection together. My favorite bit of humor is towards the end of the book, in a poem called “Night of the Jaguar,” in which Bredle lists a bunch of characteristics people share with jaguars:
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by C.J. Sage
  • Date Published March 2010
  • ISBN-13 978-1-907056-22-2
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 72pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Tanya Angell Allen
C. J. Sage’s The San Simeon Zebras, published by the Irish press Salmon Poetry, is filled with poems as exciting as the animals they portray. The pieces are quirky and gorgeous. Sometimes they become so overexcited with language they fall off the ledges they’re playing on.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Tayari Jones
  • Date Published May 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-156129900
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 340pp
  • Price $19.95
  • Review by Alex Myers
Atlanta in the late seventies and early eighties, two women, two daughters, one man: such are the major players in Tayari Jones’s Silver Sparrow. Delicate and tender without being cloying, this novel explores not only the strangeness of bigamy but also what it means to be a wife, to be a sister, to be a family. The premise of Jones’s plot is straightforward: James Witherspoon, a black man who runs his own limousine company, has married two women and fathered a daughter with each. Only one wife, Gwen, and her daughter, Dana, know of the existence James’s other family (Laverne, the wife, and Chaurisse, the daughter).
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Graphic Novel
  • by Hisashi Ota
  • Translated From Japanese
  • by Juliet Winters Carpenter
  • Date Published December 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-0-9790471-6-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 235pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Jeremy Benson
The Story of Buddha: A Graphic Biography plots the Buddha’s journey from crown prince of the ??kya kingdom to Enlightenment as a reformed ascetic, as told and illustrated by Hisashi Ota. It’s a story not often heard outside the studies of practicing Buddhists or lectures on World Religion, but it is key for even a basic understanding of Buddhism, the religion based on Buddha Sakyamuni’s teachings.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by David Szalay
  • Date Published January 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-602-6
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 272pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Wendy Breuer
The first section of Spring, by British writer David Szalay, has the feel of listening to a clueless college pal heading for another romantic train wreck. An inscrutable, perhaps capricious woman becomes the blank screen on which he paints his own meanings. James, now in his mid-thirties, is no longer a hipster entrepreneur, having already gained and lost a fortune in the volatile economics of the dot-com world. He is bright and wounded and seems to choose cluelessness in a willful way. He ruminates about his downsized life expectations:
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Fadi Azzam
  • Translated From Arabic
  • by Adam Talib
  • Date Published May 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-56656-862-3
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 224pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by Wendy Breuer
The novel Sarmada, by Fadi Azzam, is the story of the Druze village of Sarmada in the rugged southern mountains of Syria. The narrator, a journalist, has escaped his upbringing in this backwater for the cosmopolitanism of Paris and Dubai. In Paris he meets a woman who believes that in another life, she was a beautiful young woman of Sarmada, Hela Mansour, who in 1968 was punished for running off with a lover. The narrator goes to Sarmada to investigate this fantastic tale of transmigration. Interviewing village survivors, he learns of Hela’s five brothers and how their monomaniacal obsession to restore family honor forced the lovers to live as fugitives and pariahs. He learns how, out of exhaustion, Hela left her lover and returned to Sarmada to face the bloodlust of her family and how no one in the village intervened to stop the brutal death foretold. The narrator in his return becomes a seeker looking for “. . . clues to help me try to understand how I fit in with these people who made me who I am . . . who nursed me . . . with the waters of rage, fear, joy and gloom.” Foreshadowing the present convulsive awakening in Syria, with all the divisions and sectarianism, he portrays a place of myth and magic ultimately under siege by the forces of transformation.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Poetry
  • by James Cummins
  • Date Published January 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-88748-545-9
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 120pp
  • Price $16.95
  • Review by Joanna Kurowska
James Cummins’s volume Still Some Cake tells a story whose meaning unfolds gradually, like in a puzzle, as one pieces together phrases, motifs, insights, scenes, catchwords, central figures, and word or theme repetitions. Because it is a story, it seems advisable to read the collection as a whole, from the first to the last page.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Bernardo Atxaga
  • Translated From Spanish
  • by Margaret Jull Costa
  • Date Published September 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-1-55597-623-1
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 250pp
  • Price $15.00
  • Review by David Breithaupt
Bernardo Atxaga has written the perfect book for deep winter reading. His latest novel, Seven Houses in France, takes you to the steamy Congo in the year 1903. Here you will join a cast of characters belonging to the Force Publique (a sort of military gendarmes) and ruled by King Leopold II of Belgium. The King apparently thought this spot in the Congo was his for the taking and dispatched his men to develop the area as well as take advantage of its rubber, mahogany, and ivory. Atxaga’s novel chronicles a collection of 17 white officers, 20 black non-commissioned, and a crew of 150 “askaris” (volunteer black soldiers). This conglomeration of characters is as diverse and as exotic as in any Shakespeare play. Their interactions are the meat of this novel.
  • Image Image
  • Book Type Fiction
  • by Brian Allen Carr
  • Date Published March 2011
  • ISBN-13 978-1-933896-54-0
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 160pp
  • Price $22.95
  • Review by Hazel Foster
While Short Bus may not be a typical beach read, that’s exactly where I took this strong fiction collection by Dark Sky Magazine fiction editor Brian Allen Carr. I read this book on the shore of Lake Michigan, in the sand, in the sun, despite its lack of sunny-ness. It was that good.
newpages-footer-logo

We welcome any/all Feedback.