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Book Review: New Boy by Tracy Chevalier

New Boy is a novel by Tracy Chevalier that follows the playground love story of two sixth-graders: a black Ghanaian boy, Osei, and a white American girl, Dee. Although set in a 1970s Washington suburb, the story is based on William Shakespeare’s play, Othello (as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare project, which sees bestselling novelists retell Shakespeare’s […]

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The Demonologist (Andrew Pyper)

Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote that “Hell is other people,” but Andrew Pyper’s Hell is nothing so mundane. The Demonologist is populated by, well, demons, although Pyper remains focused on the earthly torments of his characters.  When literature professor David Ullman loses his daughter Tess after a demonic encounter, he embarks on a journey across countries […]

Deep River Night (Patrick Lane)

Deep River Night, award-winning poet Patrick Lane’s second novel, feels like a cross between the early novels of Cormac McCarthy, which revolve around sudden eruptions of violence in rural areas where savagery otherwise thrums as an undercurrent, and Sheila Watson’s marrying of mysticism to similar themes.  Lane’s story revolves around Art Kenning, an alcoholic veteran […]

N0S4A2 (Joe Hill)

“What would you do for a lifetime pass to a place where every morning is Christmas and unhappiness is against the law?” Joe Hill’s N0S4A2 is, to some extent, a litany of horrible answers to this question. Christmasland is indeed a magical place, an otherworldly realm where Charlie Manx takes kidnapped children, leaving their parents […]

Ilustrado (Miguel Syjuco)

‘No lyric has ever stopped a tank,’ so said Seamus Heaney. Auden said that ‘poetry makes nothing happen.’ Bullshit! I reject all that wholeheartedly! What do they know about the mechanics of tanks? How can anyone estimate the ballistic qualities of words? Invisible things happen in intangible moments. What should keep us writing is precisely […]

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Lazy Bastardism (Carmine Starnino)

The actual subjects of the individual essays in Lazy Bastardism, Carmine Starnino’s latest collection of critical prose, remain secondary to the book’s primary subject: critical prose itself. Fearing inept readers, Starnino begins with a prologue excerpting an interview with Patrick Warner, in which Starnino states that “To despise criticism . . . is to despise […]

Don’t Tell Me What to Do (Dina Del Bucchia)

Dina Del Bucchia’s debut collection of fiction follows three outstanding, hilarious, intelligent poetry books and displays a good deal of the same insightful wit. Del Bucchia’s stories are similarly bold, brash, and self-assured. The highlight of Don’t Tell Me What to Do is the short story “Nest,” in which Sara, an architect designing luxury doghouses, […]

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