Category / Reviews

David Mason’s fifth book of poetry, Sea Salt, explores the ineffable degradation of the surface while the internal core remains intact. The poems use “salt” as an over-riding metaphor to define a world that is slowly being eaten away by time and the elements. The lines in most every poem within this volume are plain-spoken, clear, rhythmically assured and cut to weigh against each other. The voice is confident and employs vivid metaphor to express regret, loss, and joy. Poetry, after time and the elements do their bidding, is what remains.

In Does Not Love, James Tadd Adcox holds his characters at a clinical distance from the reader. This is certainly by design. As the copy on the back cover notes, the novel is set “in an alternate-reality Indianapolis overrun by big pharma.”

Reviewed by Robert Long Foreman                       Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky, David Connerley Nahm Two Dollar Radio ISBN-13: 978-1937512200 $16.00, 222 pages Reading Ancient Oceans of Central Kentucky, the first novel by David Connerly Nahm, is something like reading The Orchard Keeper, the first novel […]

Reviewed by Ariell Cacciola                       After the People Lights Have Gone Off, Stephen Graham Jones Dark House Press ISBN-13: 978-1940430256 $15.95, 326 pages I had never read Stephen Graham Jones before and approaching his newest collection—an assemblage of previously published and new stories—was like showing […]

Reviewed by Michelle Newby                       Spheres of Disturbance, Amy Schutzer Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press ISBN: 978-0-9890361-1-5 $16.95, 277 pgs “Death is the final stroke of randomness, and we must wait for it, isn’t that what we’re told?” writes Amy Schutzer in Spheres of Disturbance, a […]

“The babysitter has stolen the Xanax,” begins “Queen of Hearts,” one of the short stories in Sara Lippmann’s debut collection, Doll Palace. The Xanax in question belongs to the narrator, a father who is faced with resolving the predicament at hand.

Atticus Books has politely and perhaps reasonably requested that all reviews of The Shimmering Go-Between avoid spoilers. The trouble with this request is that the content of Lee Klein’s debut novel is so bizarre

Reviewed by Michelle Newby                       Backswing, Aaron Burch Queen’s Ferry Press ISBN-13: 978-1938466304 $16.95, 214 pages Backswing, a mix of Raymond Carver-esque slice-of-life and the dystopia of The Twilight Zone, is the debut full-length collection of fourteen short stories from Aaron Burch, editor of the […]

Echo Lake, the new novel by Letitia Trent, concerns the time spent by a mother and daughter in the community of Heartshorne, Oklahoma. The mother, Connie, fled the town as a teenager for initially undisclosed reasons.

Douglas Kearney’s Patter is a book of various and inventive forms, the title of which plays on the Latin for father and on the sound of little feet, suggesting, too, a verbal ease that seems deliberately at odds with the book’s difficult subject matter.

When we hear the term unaccompanied minors, we imagine young travelers ushered on and off airplanes by nurturing flight attendants, wearing wing pins and given extra snacks during flights so they know they are cared for.

Not For Nothing by Stephen Graham Jones is a new hardboiled detective novel written in second person. Many know the second person format from those appliance manuals none of us ever read, but my introduction to the second person narrative came from Stephen King’s classic post-apoplectic thriller, The Stand.

In an interview, George Singleton once had the following to say: “Unfortunately, I am my main characters, for better or worse.” Now, in his sixth collection of short stories, Between Wrecks, he leaves us with a cast of tough and tender characters, characters who quite often cope with their lives through drinking, smoking, and even more importantly, humor. With each story, I found myself not only admiring Singleton’s abilities as a writer, but wondering where or how I might meet such a figure, or given his statement, figures.

For surreal fiction to work, the writer must have confidence. No matter how fantastic the images and situations, it always comes back to confidence. The reader should not sense the author’s doubt in either prose or content. The best works of magical realism flood forward on the page like an endless ribbon being pulled, and this is so apparent in Hong Kong writer Dorothy Tse’s newest short story collection, Snow and Shadow.

The short stories collected in Megan Martin’s Nevers do not seem to want to be short stories. They are probably best called something else; fittingly, the cover announces them as “Fictions,” of which there are

As someone who grew up in the south, I am often annoyed by “southern literature” in the same way I am often annoyed by “southern” accents in movies. Books about unplanned pregnancies also often annoy me,

Alan Michael Parker’s The Committee on Town Happiness is made of ninety-nine stories written from the perspective of the titular Committee, an official body charged, apparently, with promoting the happiness of an unnamed town.