Tag Archives: Reviews

This Week’s Reviews

Victoria Chang | Copper Canyon Press | 9781556595745 | April 2020

“Chang’s employment of [language] is beautiful and resonant.”—New Republic

Beautiful Aliens
Steve Abbott, edit. Jamie Townsend | Nightboat Books | 9781643620152 | December 2019
“What this Reader explores most of all is the ethical question of how we might live our lives across the ties and blocks of love, friendship, activism, and family (with the latter understood well beyond the heteropatriarchal nuclear unit). The role of the poet (or writer in general) as an orientation, an identification, a stance of being in the world, was above all Steve Abbott’s most precious chosen call.”—Chicago Review of Books

Beppina and the Kitchens of Arezzo
Elizabeth Romer | Prospect Books | 9781909248663 | October 2020
“Beppina is a dazzling culinary treatise, and Romer is a proud, knowledgeable guide through Arezzo’s distinctive foodways, underscoring that ‘food is a major expression of culture.’”—Foreword Reviews

The Piano Student
Lea Singer, trans. Elisabeth Lauffer | New Vessel Press | 9781939931863 | October 2020
“This is an engrossing, beautifully written novel that brings into focus an inimitable artist who ascended to great heights as a pianist despite his hidden life as a gay man.”—Van Magazine

The Drive
Yair Assulin, trans. Jessica Cohen | New Vessel Press | 9781939931825 | April 2020
“Assulin’s narrator is a complex and believable human being rather than a character whose role is to criticize the army’s role in Israeli identity and policy … ‘The Drive’ is a purposefully uncomfortable tale. To be sure, Assulin is an assured and accomplished writer, and his short novel captures and holds our attention, roils our emotions, and challenges our comfortable assumptions. Above all, the author is fully aware he has created a character who is both troubled and troubling, and he makes no apology for it.”—Jewish Journal

Villa of Delirium
Adrian Goetz, trans. Natasha Lehrer | New Vessel Press | 9781939931801 | August 2020
“A re-creation of … a family that had both immense wealth but was also ultra-intellectual. Based on real-life figures, Goetz describes a fascinating world. . . . There’s a passionate love affair, too . . . Goetz fashions quite an appealing novel out of this rich historical material . . . an engaging, colorful read.”—The Complete Review

Copper Yearning
Kimberly Blaeser | Holy Cow! Press | 9781513645612 | November 2019
Copper Yearning does what only poetry can do. It puts us so deeply in the perspective of the poet that every line which connects us resonates with a profundity that borders on the sacred, and every line that divides us is uncomfortable in its discordance, a chord we need to resolve. Truly powerful art is not afraid to make its audience uncomfortable, nor does it feel the need to offer resolutions. It demands engagement, and in this way, Blaeser’s poems are radical.”—World Literature Today

The Secret of the Tattered Shoes
Jackie Morris, illus. Ehsan Abdollahi | Tiny Owl Publishing | 9781910328378 | November 2020
“It is sometimes a challenge to describe his artwork. The images are somewhat abstract, yet clear and beautiful at the same time. His use of color and light seem to make the pages glow–especially in this story where many of the events happened in the dark of night.”—Youth Services Book Review

Paris Cat
Dianne Hofmeyr, illus. Piet Grobler | Tiny Owl Publishing | 9781910328620 | September 2020
“This is a cute story about a little cat in Paris who travels around the city creating a wonderful and magical life.”—Youth Services Book Review

The New Baby and Me
Christine Kidney, illus. Hoda Haddadi | Tiny Owl Publishing | 9781910328187 | September 2020
“This is an absolutely perfect book to have for a family with young children that are expecting another little bundle of joy.”—Youth Services Book Review

Sion’s Misfortune
Chen Jiafei, illus. Wang Ran | KaradiTales Picturebooks | 9788193654255 | September 2020
“A philosophical tale cleverly highlighting the shifting nature of perspectives as they evolve over time.”— Youth Services Book Review

Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Gerda Muller | Floris Books | 9781782506287 | September 2020
“This is a gentle re-telling of the traditional tale.”—Youth Services Book Review

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This Week’s Reviews

GG | Koyama Press | 9781927668726 | January 2020
“With minimal text and color, GG translates the thoughts and feelings playing on repeat for many living with depression.”—Women Write About Comics
“The picture GG manages to paint with her elegant style, calculated layouts, and poetically-timed statements gives the reader a look into the author’s mind with the subtlety of a scraped knee: not enough to draw tears, but enough to create emotional scratches that will be felt for days.”—Comics Bookcase

The Unseen
Roy Jacobsen, trans. Don Shaw and Don Bartlett | Biblioasis | 9781771963190 | April 2020
“Through a host of powerful linguistic choices, the translation evokes an archaic way of life that’s slowly being displaced—and a visceral approach to the natural world that can be bracing and unsettling in equal measure.”—Words without Borders

Four by Four
Sara Mesa, trans. Katie Whittemore | Open Letter | 9781948830140 | May 2020
“Sara Mesa pulls off the impressive feat of sustaining a mood of ambiguous dread throughout this novel. It’s a work that abounds with deceptions (some more sinister than others) and abuses of power; there’s also a hint of dystopia to the larger world. For readers who enjoy mood, menace, and just a dash of the Gothic, there’s plenty to savor here.”—Words without Borders

Apsara Engine
Bishakh Som | The Feminist Press at CUNY |
9781936932818 | April 2020
“Much like a map, Som’s novel opens up a portal and lets us imagine all the places it could take us to.”—Hyperallergic

The Ethical Meat Handbook
Meredith Leigh | New Society Publishers | 9780865719231 | February 2020
“Leigh, who had been scheduled for a spring book tour, is instead sharing information on her website about how people can network, collaborate and even barter to obtain beef and pork.”—Mountain Express

Even When Fall Is Here
Ruth Estévez, art by Erick Meyenberg, contrib. Eloisa Haudenschild | DoppelHouse Press | 9781733957915 | April 2020
“In the rich interplay of the many sources Estévez pulls together, questions are generated that don’t have easy answers. The reader cannot escape the heavy weight of historical representations of gardens, and the significance given to them by observers and toilers alike. . . . How do we live more fully in the seasons, the uncertainty, and the revealing? Created over a two-year period, the project ultimately produced a six-channel video, 45 paintings by Meyenberg, and this book. There is beauty in the instruction manual and color ranges that Shea left for Haudenschild to keep her garden alive, much of which is reproduced in this book. Although the book is a composite of the real and unreal, at the heart of it is an honest conversation—a marker of a man’s final months and legacy, and the remembering of his place in his world. A place we will all find ourselves in one day; hopefully in or near a garden.”—The OC Art Blog

Art of Pernille Ørum
Pernille Ørum, edit. 3dTotal Publishing | 3dTotal Publishing | 9781912843152 | April 2020
“This 152-page hardcover is a beautiful artbook that talks about Pernille’s career. . . . This is one of many fantastic artist-centric artbooks that 3DTotal has been putting out recently.”—Parka Blogs

Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Procreate
edit. 3dTotal Publishing | 3dTotalPublishing | 9781912843145 | April 2020
“This is an insightful book for those who want to learn the ins and outs of Procreate and get serious with it.”—Park Blogs

Felix After the Rain
Dunja Jogan, edit. and trans. Olivia Hellewell | Tiny Owl Publishing | 9781910328583 | June 2020
“Explores the power of utilizing a support system when it comes to mitigating grief and bringing levity and perspective to upsetting situations.”—Lets Talk Picture Books

Niam! Cooking with Kids
Kerry McCluskey | Inhabit Media | 9781772272550 | April 2020
Woven in amongst the tacos and the sugar cookies are ways to use cooking to give back to the community, traditional Inuit knowledge about country food, and lists of skills that kids will develop as they work their way through each recipe. With recipes for even the littlest chef, this book offers the most delicious kind of learning.” School Library Connection

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This Week’s Reviews

City on Fire
Antony Dapiran | Scribe | 9781950354276 | June 2020
“[A] commanding firsthand account of the recent—and ongoing—protests. . . . Excellent reportage that is of critical importance in understanding contemporary Chinese politics.” —Kirkus Reviews

In My Anaana’s Amautik
Nadia Sammurtok, illus. Lenny Lishchenko | Inhabit Media | 9781772272529 | April 2020
“This gentle story elevates the feelings of comfort and security that the amautik enable.” —Horn Book

Stardust to Stardust
Erik Olin Wright | Haymarket Books | 9781642591583 | July 2020
“The overall effect of his fortitude and humor is one of delight. These touching, wise remembrances demonstrate how joys can arise from even the darkest moments.”—Publishers Weekly

I Don’t Expect Anyone to Believe Me
Juan Pablo Villalobos, trans. Daniel Hahn | And Other Stories | 9781911508489 | May 2020
“[An] entertaining farce.” —The New York Times

The Eighth Life
Nino Haratischvili, trans. Charlotte Collins | Scribe | 9781950354146 | April 2020 
“This multigenerational epic . . . offers not only a critique of Soviet and Russian imperial ambitions but a necessary reappraisal of Georgian history.” —The New Yorker

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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