Category Archives: Literary Fiction Reviews

The Fugue – Book Review

 

While reading Gint Aras’s novel The Fugue the image that came to my mind was not of an eternal golden braid, but of a broken mirror, cracked and fragmented, each tiny slither reflecting a different aspect of a multifaceted narrative. It’s an image of stasis, of everything at once, eternally present, blindingly coeval.

And it turns out that this image is not entirely inappropriate, for the novel features mirrors of more or less importance, and characters who inhabit the present and the past simultaneously, and whose lives are splintered beyond endurance and yet who, for the most part, continue to endure. Continue reading The Fugue – Book Review

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He Runs the Moon – Book Review

 

Themes of identity and belonging disturb the calm surface of Wendy Brandmark’s collection of short stories, which are set in Denver, New York and Boston in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Many of the stories concern characters who have been displaced geographically and emotionally: young or old, successful or unsuccessful, their lives have slipped their moorings.

For some, it is because they have left part of themselves behind in the Old World, where memories of fear and suffering coexist with recollections of family and personal authenticity. For others – particularly the young – it is because they have moved to a different city and found or lost friends or lovers. Continue reading He Runs the Moon – Book Review

Editorial Review – The Robber of Youth

 

Title: The Robber of Youth

Author name: Keith Julius

Genre: Literary Fiction

 

This story takes readers along the journeys of Rosaletta Guiterrez, a fifteen-year-old who watched her brother die and was turned out of her mother’s home in the same night, and Melanie Cox, a new Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) who longs to help children navigate the court system and find a better life as a result.

Continue reading Editorial Review – The Robber of Youth

Diaboliad and Notes on a Cuff – Book Review

 

These two handsome and distinctive paperbacks form part of a series showcasing the work of Russian Master Mikhail Bulgakov. Some of the stories in Notes on a Cuff appear in English for the first time, so this is a real treat for Bulgakovians. In addition, both books include valuable textual apparatus: photographs (Mikhail was quite the dandy), notes and a concluding section on the life and work of Bulgakov. Continue reading Diaboliad and Notes on a Cuff – Book Review

Raking the Dust – Book Review

 

Recently, I mentioned to an author that writing can sometimes seem a trivial and frivolous occupation. She replied that she never thought of it that way. It made me wonder if insecurity about writing is more of a male problem than a female one.

Rather like male film actors who indulge in ‘manly’ excesses to compensate for their lack of self-esteem, there are male writers who embrace a lifestyle based on alcohol or drugs or sex or danger and any combination thereof in order, it seems, to bolster something within themselves that whispers in the night that making up stories is unworthy of real men. Continue reading Raking the Dust – Book Review

The Snail’s Castle – Book Review

 

Carl Jung’s concept of the Shadow is one of many intertwined and mutually reinforcing themes in Mark Gordon’s complex and absorbing novel.

The Shadow comprises the negative, primitive and morally reprehensible emotions and impulses inaccessible to the conscious mind: among them, lust, greed, envy, rage and the pursuit of power. It is at its most dangerous when habitually repressed and rejected, eventually manifesting itself in mental disturbances such as neurosis, psychosis or irrational hostility.

Continue reading The Snail’s Castle – Book Review

Mister Spoonface – Book Review

 

Fred Pooley has returned to London after six years in Hong Kong. He has worked hard and saved a little money, but something is wrong. He can’t settle down, he avoids visiting his mother, and there’s an emptiness inside him.

Petra, a new girlfriend, tries hard to bring Fred out of himself, yet he is irresistibly drawn to his former partner, Sally, and her young daughter. He grows increasingly certain that children are what he needs to fill the void in his life. When he decides to act on that need, he is led imperceptibly into illegality, obsession and self-destruction. Continue reading Mister Spoonface – Book Review

To Swim Beneath the Earth – Book Review

 

‘Sometimes it’s hard to know what you’re seeing,’ Megan Kimsey remarks as she prepares to fly from Denver to Bogota at the beginning of Ginger Bensman’s ambitious novel. It’s an appropriate statement from a young woman prone not only to premonitions, but also to visions of a past life lived centuries ago in a different culture.

These episodes are naturally interpreted as symptoms of mental illness by Megan’s mother, a physically attractive woman who instinctively colonizes everything and everybody, and whose need to control extends to hiring a dubious psychiatrist to cure her daughter of her hallucinations.

Megan can depend on her father’s love and support, until his loss precipitates a personal crisis and the start of a quest to find the truth about herself. Continue reading To Swim Beneath the Earth – Book Review

Proud Patrick – Book Review

 

After reading Proud Patrick, I took it into my head to visit Michael O’Reilly’s profile on Goodreads, where I learned that he counts among his main influences, not only writers such as Forster, Hardy, Joyce, Melville, and Shakespeare, but also filmmakers such as Bergman, Cassavetes, Kubrick, Kurosawa, and Lean.

I found this list of luminaries to be intriguing, as I also think of my own writing in terms of film style – not a conscious and deliberate emulation of particular shots and scenes, but the grammar of film and the kinds of dramatic tension that great filmmakers know how to construct.

Continue reading Proud Patrick – Book Review

Editorial Review – When We Sleep

 

Title: When We Sleep

Author: Ernesto H. Lee

Genre: Supernatural fiction / Dreams

 

When We Sleep by Ernesto H. Lee is a supernatural fiction book with a focus on the mysteries that his dreams have to offer. The book blurb promises bizarre truths the reader will encounter.

Continue reading Editorial Review – When We Sleep