Keith Lee Morris' second book takes place entirely at a championship darts match on a single night in Idaho in June of 2007. Surprisingly for such a narrowly focused work, it's as compelling a novel as I've read all year.
We go to our American art museums and dutifully pass the Old Masters' paintings, nonchalant about them being on display here rather than Italy, Spain, Germany, England, France, Netherlands or the other European countries where those great painters lived centuries ago.
Adolescent Ren has little at the start of the Good Thief: a stump in place of his hand, a first name but no last, a question mark in place of his past and an uncertain future. Orphaned as an infant, Ren's only family are the other lost boys at Saint Anthony's monastery.
Knockemstiff, Ohio, is a place where bony dudes, emboldened after swigging whiskey from car ashtrays, flatten men three times their size in drive-in bathrooms. It's place where acne-riddled teenagers flee abusive fathers in favor of overweight, speed-popping homosexual truck drivers. At least that’s the Knockemstiff we get in Donald Ray Pollock’s widely-praised debut collection of short stories, aptly titled "Knockemstiff," published earlier this year.
Earlier this year, I went to my cousin's wedding. It was a seriously Republican crowd. The only Democrat I met all weekend used to babysit the Bush twins. At a bridal luncheon given by a friend of the family well into her sixties, I was surprised to find a copy of Cincinnati native Curtis Sittenfeld's Prep. I was even more surprised to hear the hostess had read and enjoyed it.
Notions of how a voice achieves agency in the world. Its linguistic vitality is incredible. All the things that bring pleasure in poetry are there the texture of a particular voice, complex prosody, anaphor, sophisticated rhyme schemes and explosive punning.
the Year, the Chinese American History Makers award, but the one that meant the most to me, that told me I had really been accepted, was I got to be a judge for the Miss Chinatown pageant.” In college she was a Modern Greek Studies major, which she says taught her the “pleasures and surprises” of research.
Herbert Gold is a Buckeye, born and raised in the Cleveland area, but he's lived in California for many years and is one of the last of the San Francisco beatniks. This memoir on his life is smart, crisp and feisty. Perhaps he's a bit all over the place, but that's part of the fun.
True to style, Adam Davies (author of "The Frog Prince" and "Goodbye Lemon") has penned another masterfully precise depiction of the guy who can't win for losing. This time it's poor Otto Starks, whose life these days sadly resembles a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book gone
Things to keep in mind when starting a Salman Rushdie novel: It's difficult, if not impossible, to understand everything during a first reading; the bawdy language is as much a device as the plot itself; and, most importantly, Sir Rushdie is consistently lighthearted, despite the heaviness of his subjects. His newest book is no exception.
Steve Lopez, metro columnist for The Los Angeles Times, was walking around downtown one day when he saw a shabbily dressed homeless man serenely playing Beethoven on his battered violin at a street corner. He was intrigued -- and, of course, looking for column material. "Violin man. It's got potential," Lopez recalls thinking in his book about the relationship that resulted from that encounter.
If Zachary Lazar has an inherent enthusiasm for the Rolling Stones, his novel's subject, he keeps it hidden. Rather, he meticulously challenges a truism of the 1960s: that the Stones' performance at Altamont dramatically ended the '60s.
When victims of Hurricane Katrina face delays in getting federal assistance, when Oprah Winfrey is denied service at Hermés' flagship store in Paris as the store is closing and when no cab stops for Danny Glover in midtown Manhattan, the reflex action is to call it racism. Sounds like it is. But what if it isn't?