This Week’s Reviews

The Dinner Guest
Gabriela Ybarra | Transit Books | 9781945492242 | May 2019
“A significant accomplishment of The Dinner Guest is to portray the act of seeking, imagining order in our lives and deaths, all the while knowing that it will inevitably be interrupted.”—Words Without Borders

The Bird Boys
Lisa Sandlin | Cinco Puntos Press | 9781947627130 | August 2019
“I confess that as a Beaumonster who remembers that city in the early Seventies, the book has a special appeal; Sandlin gets so many details just right. But you don’t have to have lived there to be captivated by The Bird Boys. Its characters, wit, exquisite prose, and sense of redemption are so richly crafted that they’ll stick to most anyone like, well, a shirt to your skin on an August afternoon in Beaumont.”—Austin Chronicle

Houston Noir
edited by Gwendolyn Zepeda | Akashic Books | 9781617757068 | May 2019
“Editor Gwendolyn Zepeda has cannily divided the collection into four separate areas of the city, which only serves to multiply a reader’s certainty: Like the sodden sheet covering a much-lacerated corpse, all of Houston is pretty much dripping with crime. Best to experience it, we suggest, only between the covers of this new paperback.”—Austin Chronicle

Action in the Orchards
Fred Schmalz | Nightboat Books | 9781937658984 | April 2019
“Schmalz thus raises vital questions about what it means to encounter an artwork. What are the limits of such an encounter? When does an encounter with an artwork end? This seems like a straightforward question: you stand in front of a painting in a museum, then you move to the next one. Even when working with museum pieces, though, Schmalz stresses the strange duration of his encounters: they tend to persist, to haunt.”—Iowa Review

The Lake on Fire
Rosellen Brown | Sarabande Books | 9781946448231 | October 2018
“The beauty of Brown’s work. . . is that she has not written a Cinderella story: Chaya is not looking to be relieved of her class consciousness, even while she hopes to someday escape poverty. . . . [The Lake on Fire] gives insights into human hearts and debates whether love can overcome the economic realities of the world.”—The Reporter

Party: A Mystery
Jamaica Kincaid, illus. Ricardo Cortés | Akashic Books | 9781617757167 | June 2019
“Unique, uncommon, entertaining, and thoroughly ‘kid friendly’, Party: A Mystery is an extraordinary and highly recommended.”—Midwest Book Review

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