This Week’s Reviews

The Drive
Yair Assulin, trans. Jessica Cohen | New Vessel Press | 9781939931825 | April 2020
“The most remarkable part of this book may be in its exploration of how impossible the mentally healthy find it to participate in the journey of the mentally ill. . . . A superb debut from one of Israel’s younger prize-winning authors.”—Literary Hub

Blue Marlin
Lee Smith | Blair | 9781949467314 | April 2020
“Like all of Smith’s books, it’s wise and funny, shot through with a deep understanding of human nature.”—Star Tribune

Sansei and Sensibility
Karen Tei Yamashita | Coffee House Press | 9781566895781 | May 2020
“Karen Tei Yamashita is a contemporary virtuoso of milieu. . . . As gently humorous and entertaining as it is innovative and thought-provoking, Sansei and Sensibility is full of truths universally acknowledged, delivered in one of the most astute, idiosyncratic and important voices writing in America today.”—Star Tribune

The OK End of Funny Town
Mark Polanzak | BOA Editions | 9781950774050 | May 2020

Polanzak captures comedy-and-tragedy with a thumping heart, a big imagination, and a profound sensitivity to the textures of our longings, loves, and laughs.”—Boston Globe

Island of the Innocent
Diane Glancy | Turtle Point Press | 9781885983800 | June 2020
“A moving testament to the creative act of enduring, Glancy’s hybrid collection emphasizes the shadow speak of history, memory, and trauma as legacy.”—Foreword Reviews

Villa of Delirium
Adrian Goetz, trans. Natasha Lehrer | New Vessel Press | 9781939931801 | August 2020
Part social doc­u­men­tary, part archi­tec­tur­al analy­sis, part quest nov­el, Vil­la of Delir­i­um is an intrigu­ing amal­gam …  A great deal is revealed of a bygone era. The nov­el presents a com­pelling por­trait of some unique his­tor­i­cal fig­ures, and it recalls the sig­nif­i­cant role Jews played in French cul­ture. It is also a stark reminder of how frag­ile that role was.”—Jewish Book Council

The house in the book’s title is the unforgettable Villa Kérylos … This fabulous summer retreat replicates an ancient Greek palace, but with all the modern conveniences money could buy in the early 1900s … Will intrigue even those who have not yet visited the Villa Kérylos.”—Fine Art Connoisseur

Doomstead Days
Brian Teare | Nightboat Books | 9781643620022 | April 2019
“Teare suggests that if there’s hope, it lies in attunement to the fluid gender of the Anthropocene phenomenological world and in unconventional—queer– ways of loving the world’s flesh. Attentive walking in our inescapably impure surroundings may help cultivate both.”—Dispatches from the Poetry Wars

Rat Time
Keiler Roberts | Koyama Press | 9781927668702 | September 2019
“These are great comics that will remind you that no matter what happens, we all have to keep living—an important message right now, I’d say.” —Panel Patter

The Problem of the Many
Timothy Donnelly | Wave Books | 9781940696492 | October 2019
“Most philosophers who tackle Unger’s problem hope to pin down a single cloud within the puzzle’s haze. Donnelly hopes for the opposite: that by blurring the systems of knowledge that make us want to draw borders around the cloud, he can weaken other kinds of borders: national, social, political.”—Harvard Review

Thukpa for All
Praba Ram and Sheela Preuitt, illus. Shilpa Ranade | Karadi Tales Picturebooks | 9788193388983 | October 2019
Told from a blind child’s perspective – Tsering is blind – this story is enhanced by beautiful illustrations that teach about the Ladakhi culture which is not often depicted in picture books.”—Omnilibros

When I Arrived at the Castle
Emily Carroll | Koyama Press | 9781927668689 | April 2019

“Somewhere betwixt Crimson Peak and The Bloody Chamber lies horror maestro Emily Carroll’s 2019 full-length comic When I Arrived at the Castle, an erotically charged gothic tale that evokes and pays homage to horror and fairytale conventions even as it subverts them.” –SOLRAD

Farmer Falgu Goes to the Market
Chitra Soundar, illus. Kanika Nair | Karadi Tales Picturebooks | 9788181903129 | April 2018
“Farmer Falgu’s resourcefulness in turning his ruined cargo of goods into delicious omelets is a clever take on the moral: how to make lemonade out of lemons.  With bold, vivid illustrations, this positive, upbeat, and funny story would be a joyful book to read aloud online to children.”—Children’s Literature Assembly

Inner Child
Henry Blackshaw | Cicada Books | 9781908714817 | August 2020
“The artistic device of actually showing the children inside the grown-ups adds an unexpected, visually arresting element to this wonderful book.”—100 Scope Notes

White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia
Kiki Petrosino | Sarabande Books | 9781946448545 | May 2020
“Another ambitious volume from Petrosino. . . . An intriguing collection.”—The Millions

Choice Words: Writers on Abortion
edit. Annie Finch | Haymarket Books | 9781642591484 | April 2020
“In these disturbing times, an open conversation about abortion in all its forms is of the utmost importance. Choice Words brings that conversation into the cultural sphere, reaching, as Finch puts it, beyond argument, into the realm of experience. It is a first step toward giving this topic the literary weight it is due, and for any woman contemplating a termination, or coming to terms with having had one, it will provide solace and companionship as well as important information.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

Mary Ruefle | Wave Books | 9781940696997 | September 2020
“Reading Dunce, I felt, with no irony: how dare I not cherish—every day—the color of a flower? Such is the porousness of Ruefle’s written tableaux, along with her gratitude.”—Rumpus

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