Category Archives: Reviews

A selection of recent reviews our publishers’ books have received.

This Week’s Reviews

Dorothea Lasky | Wave Books | 9781940696911 | October 2019
“Personally, Lasky has convinced me to never underestimate the tragic power of this world, and committed to continually expand my conception of what is possible.”—Prism Magazine

Sion’s Misfortune
Chen Jiafei, illus. Wang Ran | Karadi Tales Picturebooks | 9788193654255 | September 2020
“The artwork provided by Wang Ran provides a beautiful complement to this story. . . . Perfect for children over the age of four years.”—Youth Services Book Reviews

I Belong to Vienna
Anna Goldenberg, trans Alta L. Price | New Vessel Press | 9781939931849 | June 2020
“The value and virtue of this book is that it personalizes and humanizes a global reign of terror into an understandable drama.”—Arts Fuse

The Blue Absolute
Aaron Shurin | Nightboat Books | 9781643620169 | February 2020
The Blue Absolute‘s sonic felicity binds each page to a common score which draws from song its deep notes, an encompassing melopoeia that subtends the whole. Whether held in a knot of anguish or bliss, whether echoing hollow nights or breathing along pelicans, wind, trees, and storms, the poem will always tilt toward an upper limit, melody, which is its own kind of transcending shiver.”—Fence

Michael DeForge | Koyama Press | 9781927668696 | September 2019
Short form in narrative and physical size, Michael DeForge’s Stunt delivers a concentrated, high-octane hit.”—Broken Frontier

The Story I Am
Roger Rosenblatt | Turtle Point Press | 9781885983787 | April 2020
“A hymn of praise for the craft of weaving words in order to survive.”—Washington Independent Review of Books

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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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This Week’s Reviews

Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod
Traci Brimhall | Copper Canyon Press | 9781556595806 | March 2020
“Stunning.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Every Color of Light
Hiroshi Osada, illus. Ryoji Arai, trans. David Boyd | Enchanted Lion Books | 9781592702916 | June 2020
“A story that sharpens the senses and quiets the soul.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Esther Kinsky, trans. Caroline Schmidt | Transit Books | 9781945492389 | July 2020
“A philosophical jewel seeking revelation in interstices, absences, ruptures, and the passages between existence and memory.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Mansour’s Eyes
Ryan Girod, trans. Chris Clarke | Transit Books | 9781945492365 | July 2020
“Capitalism and religious fundamentalism collide in Girod’s shimmering account of one man’s heresy and imminent execution.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

DMZ Colony
Don Mee Choi | Wave Books | 9781940696959 | April 2020
“Choi’s DMZ Colony is as much an entity as it is a place, a meta-discursive domain wherein its throng of unlikely inhabitants—endangered birds, political prisoners, orphans, refugees, all colonized subjects and outcasts of empire—are alternately declared and concealed.” —Chicago Review of Books

Include Me Out
María Sonia Cristoff, trans. Katherine Silver | Transit Books | 9781945492303 | February 2020
“Cristoff is the artist who grinds up the bones of the classics into powder that can be refigured into work that speaks more directly to our current age.” —The Nation

All Heathens
 Marianne Chan | Sarabande Books | 9781946448521 | March 2020
 “[An] ambitious debut collection.”—Ms. Magazine

If Venice Dies
Salvatore Settis, trans. André Naffis-Sahely | New Vessel Press | 9781939931375 | September 2016
“An alarming and necessary treatise on how much there is to lose when we don’t work to save one of our most enchanting cities on the planet. It’s out by New Vessel Press, an exciting independent New York publishing house that has been putting out some riveting works in translation.”—Interview Magazine

Douglas A. Martin | Nightboat Books | 9781643620220 | June 2020
“Employing muscular, wide-open prose and deep, dark empathy, Martin succeeds in doing this exactly here: compels us to contend with an everything. Wolf works by struggle and resistance. It demands attention, re-assessment, re-reading. It does not persuade or lecture or recount, but troubles and thickens, blurs the edges of these characters’ subjectivities, and renders visible your own prejudgments.”Big Other

Bradley of Him
Connor Wilumsen | Koyama Press | 9781927668733 | November 2019
“One way or another, Willumsen always finds a way to translate his extraordinary imagination into imagery that not only catches, but fully absorbs, the attention of the reader, and that’s no mean feat considering the sheer size, scale, and scope of his ambition. Like his protagonist, he’s forever pushing himself — he never stops running.” —SOLRAD

Inner Child
Henry Blackshaw | Cicada Books | 9781908714817 | August 2020
“Truths about love, life, and living in the moment are humorously recounted in this cautionary tale for all ages.”—Foreword Reviews

Little Pearl
Martin Widmark, illus. Emilia Dziubak | Floris Books | 9781782505990 | April 2020
“Because of this instant classic, imaginations will soar; whether it’s bedtime, daytime, or any time else, a bit of fantasy is in order.”—Foreword Reviews, starred review

Felix After the Rain
Dunja Jogan, edit. and trans. Olivia Hellewell | Tiny Owl Publishing | 9781910328583 | June 2020
“This is a lovely choice for school or home libraries, through which children will learn empathy and compassion as a kind stranger helps Felix to let go of his emotional baggage.”—Foreword Reviews

A Wave of Stars
Dolores Brown, illus. Sonja Wimmer | NubeOcho | 9788417673413 | July 2020
“The book’s beautiful full-color spreads and panels are interspersed with black-and-white line drawings as a white seal and turtle succumb to the legend of the moon rainbow, embarking on a journey that sends them out of the waves and onto dry land.”—Foreword Reviews, starred review

White Blood
Kiki Petrosino | Sarabande Books | 9781946448545 | May 2020
“The result of deep historical research, impressive formal dexterity, and savvy storytelling, this volume of poetry combines genealogy, history, and verse in a way that reflects many American experiences.”—Foreword Reviews

Collecting for a New World
John W. Hessler | D GILES | 9781911282396 | November 2019
“Well put together, a compact, tight design makes it a comfortable read, as well as an informative one. Beneficially, it is illustrated throughout with high quality illustrations.”—ARLIS/NA Review

The Helios Disaster
Linda Bostrom Knausgaard, trans. Rachel Willson-Broyles | World Editions | 9781642860689 | April 2020
“Blending psychological realism with a hallucinatory dose of the mythological, Linda Boström Knausgård’s The Helios Disaster eludes easy classification. It’s a slim novel that moves from trauma to revelation and back again; it’s also a disconcerting reworking of some memorable myths and legends. Running throughout the novel is a measured consideration of belief and humanity’s relationship to the divine—both metaphorically and literally.”—Words Without Borders

The Next Loves
Stéphane Bouquet, trans. Lindsay Turner | Nightboat Books | 9781643620053 | September 2019
If there’s a jewel in this collection, it is undoubtedly ‘Light of the Fig.’ A chronicle and homage to how difficult it is to be gay, it’s also a powerful elegy to all those young gay people who are no longer with us for one reason or another.”Gay and Lesbian Review

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This Week’s Reviews

Earth Shattering Events
Robin Jacobs, illus. Sophie Williams | Cicada Books | 9781908714701 | April 2020
“Dynamic illustrations paired with illuminating text will entice even a reluctant reader to revel in this selection; an excellent addition to any nonfiction library.” —School Library Journal, starred review

God’s Green Earth
Noelle Kocot | Wave Books | 9781950268023 | May 2020
“At once modest and resplendent, this is a profound affirmation of poetic necessity.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Slum Virgin
Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, trans. Frances Riddle | Charco Press | 9781999722708 | August 2020
“Cámara’s breakout tale is mind-blowingly good.”—Publishers Weekly

Under My Tree
Muriel Tallandier, illus. Mizuho Fujisawa, trans. Sarah Klinger | Blue Dot Kids Press | 9781733121231 | April 2020
“A story filled with pure love and adoration for the rainbow of nature and the opportunities it presents to us.” —School Library Journal

Wake Up, Let’s Play!
Marit Törnqvist | Floris Books | 9781782506263 | June 2020
“A celebration of childhood and friendship, replete with imagination, ambition, and even a bit of mischief.” —Kirkus Reviews

DMZ Colony
Don Mee Choi | Wave Books | 9781940696959 | April 2020
“This way of seeing, at once prophetic and hardboiled, weaves through all her poetry.” —Poetry Foundation

Hilary Leichter | Coffee House Press | 9781566895668 | March 2020
“If a Salvador Dali painting were reimagined as a contemporary novel, it would be Leichter’s Temporary, a trippy commentary on workplace culture and the gig economy. With beautiful prose and colorful imagery, it’s a poetic tour de force.” —Parade

Girls Lost
Jessica Schiefauer, trans. Saskia Vogel | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781941920954 | March 2020
A powerful novel about gender, sexuality and power relations that will have you turn page after page without even realizing it.”—Words without Borders

Stitched & Sewn
Jody Savin, photo. Ann Elliott Cutting | Prospect Park Books | 9781945551765 | April 2020
“Strobel’s compelling testimony demonstrate art’s power to heal, and by showing how one artist overcame the virus of hate she endured, the book offers a message of hope.  At this historic moment of global crisis, Strobel’s art and life story call us to remember the danger of losing our humanity in a time of crisis.”—Cultural Weekly

Paraguayan Sea
Wilson Bueno | Nightboat Books | 9781937658748 | November 2017

Paraguayan Sea stages a polylingual monologue of love and tragedy set in a Brazilian beach town, delivered by a fluid and floozy narrator, exuberant and fragile. Enriching the pleasure of the text is an array of paratexts by numerous authors, from introduction to commentary to interview to glossary, offering an unparalleled reflection on the process and politics of translation.”—The Bind

Sports is Hell
Ben Passmore | Koyama Press | 9781927668757 | February 2020
“Like all of Passmore’s work, Sports Is Hell is engaging and crafted with a searing mix of storytelling technique, creativity, fearlessness, honesty, and smarts.”—Comics Bookcase

When I Colored in the World
 Ahmadreza Ahmadi, illus. Ehsan Abdollahi, edit. and trans. Azita Rassi | Tiny Owl Publishing | 9781910328491 | May 2019

“When I Colored in the World is a book for children who know more about the world than we usually give them credit for, and gives them a wonderful creative agency to make it better. With crayons.”—Baby Bookworms Storywraps

Sansei and Sensibility
Karen Tei Yamashita | Coffee House Press | 9781566895781 | May 2020
“Yamashita’s dizzying amalgamation of fiction and history results in something that is both speculative and truthful. . . . Offers such Sansei/Janeite delights as an LA County Mansfield Park, a 1960s Emma with revolutionary inclinations, and a Lady Susan consisting of post-war postcards and aerograms between Tokyo and California. . . . A gratifying jigsaw puzzle of a book, certain to enrapture readers with both its individual pieces and the larger picture those pieces create.”—Arkansas International

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This Week’s Reviews

Toxicon and Arachne
Joyelle McSweeney | Nightboat Books | 9781643620183 | April 2020
“I have always felt McSweeney’s lines, but never before have I outright wept at a poem—any poem—with such force, as if almost doubled-over with the poet’s own grief. ” —Poetry Foundation

Victoria Chang | Copper Canyon Press | 9781556595745 | April 2020
“A book of poems that arrive in waves of grief, tidal but truncated verse paragraphs.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

The Book of AnnaCarmen Boullosa, trans. Samantha Schnee | Coffee House Press | 9781566895774 | April 2020
“Readers of Tolstoy will recognize famous scenes from Anna Karenina, but Carmen Boullosa tips the notion of fiction on its head. Set on the eve of the Russian Revolution, The Book of Anna is told in a rich, unique style.” —Buzzfeed

Dance on Saturday
Elwin Cotman | Small Beer Press | 9781618731722 | June 2020
“Cotman wields biting wit, powerful emotion, and magic large and small throughout these six superlative stories. . . . Cotman’s bold and timely speculative fiction marks him as a writer to watch.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Dispatches from the Republic of Letters
edit. Daniel Simon | Deep Vellum Publishing | 9781646050338 | October 2020
“A tribute and a testament to literature, and a reward for readers.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Not Go Away Is My Name
Alberto Ríos | Copper Canyon Press | 9781556595875 | May 2020
“This work captures Ríos’s singular voice at its best.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

Who Will It Be
Paola Vitale, illus. Rossana Bossù | Blue Dot Kids Press | 9781733121200 | April 2020
“A good starting point for curious youngsters. . . . A beautifully illustrated introduction to the topic of evolution for elementary students.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Year of the Dog
Deborah Paredez | BOA Editions | 9781950774012 | April 2020
“Paredez has a gift for storytelling through form. This is an astonishing book.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Blue Absolute
Aaron Shurin | Nightboat Books | 9781643620169 | February 2020

The Blue Absolute has choreographic electricity that dances skin-to-skin and mingles senses in ways that would surely please Allen Ginsberg and other Beats who knew their Shakespeare, their Rabelais, and their Zen.” –The Rumpus

Luke Brown | And Other Stories | 9781911508588 | April 2020
“A caustically funny, scalpel-sharp satire about a young man trying to get ahead, and a foothold, in a rapidly changing London and a recently divided Britain. . . . Brown covers a lot of bases — property markets, sexual politics, youthful hedonism and the war of attrition that is Brexit — but at the heart of this bittersweet novel is a tender, perfectly realized human drama.” —Star Tribune

Tender Points
Amy Berkowitz | Nightboat Books | 9781643620282 | October 2019
“What Berkowitz offers us . . . is a radical tenderness: to be seen as we are, without the need of fixing, with full acknowledgment of the awfulness of it.”—Ecotheo Review

Bradley of Him
Connor Wilumsen | Koyama Press | 9781927668733 | November 2019
“Ultimately it’s not at all a book about Bradley Cooper. Cooper is a vessel that Willumsen uses to personify our perceptions of celebrity—how the identity of famous people exists in a shared space between reality, the audience and the media. In this way all the way through the book feels not like the central character’s experience, or an objective story of what happened to him as told through panels of story, but rather like the adrenaline rush of voyeurising a celebrity in real life.” –Broken Frontier

Eun-ju Kim, illus. Ji-won Lee, trans. Joungmin Lee Comfort | Scribe | 9781950354061 | April 2020
“Take a brightly colored look at plastic, starting with the story of bath toys set loose in the ocean. Even-handed and informative, the book details the many helpful uses of plastic, its damage to the environment, and the latest work in cleaning up, recycling, and reformulating plastics.” –Virginian-Pilot

Indecent Assembly : The North Carolina Legislature’s Blueprint for the War on Democracy and Equality
Gene R. Nichol | Blair | 9781949467277 | April 2020
Indecent Assembly is a true story of power, greed, and bigotry, and it might just make you sick to your stomach. Read it anyway. We all need to understand what we’re up against.” –BlueNC

Year of the Dog
Deborah Paredez | BOA Editions | 9781950774012 | April 2020
“Scattered across the collection are a series of idiom poems that reference parts of the body—the long arm of the law, mother tongue, about face, etc. ‘A Show of Hands’ emerges from this attempt to reveal the latent violence in our everyday language. My hope is that through the techniques of assemblage, recontextualization, litany and enjambment, the poem (along with others in the strewn series) perform a sense of dismemberment and reacquaint us with the physical and rhetorical consequences of unending war.”—Poetry Society

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