Online Edition: FALL 2009

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Cris Mazza and the Cartography of Narrative
What happens when we map the work of a writer of "layered" literary fiction?
Essay by Kathryn Mueller

Widely Unavailable
To Bury Our Fathers: A Novel of Nicaragua
Sergio Ramírez

This thirty-year-old novel, now out of print, evokes a world formed and deformed
by the same kind of global economic disparities and culture/ideology
clashes we still debate.
Reviewed by Steve Moncada Street



A Gate at the Stairs
Lorrie Moore

In her new, long-awaited novel, Moore skewers the bellicose and deluded, wielding fate’s fickleness and kindly noting its cruelty. Reviewed by Kevin Lynch

What We Were Doing and Where We Were Going
Damion Searls

Searls’s first book of fiction is remarkable for its humor, its erudition, and for what it does with existing literary texts. Reviewed by Brooks Sterritt

Colm Tóibín

Tóibín’s sixth novel opens in the author’s hometown in Ireland, where a young student decides to escape economic hardship and seek a new life in America. Reviewed by Suzann Clemens

A Priceless Nest
Kristiina Ehin

The short, intense stories in this collection reflect the Estonian Ehin’s poetic roots as she creates strange worlds populated with otherworldly characters. Reviewed by Rebecca Farivar

The City & the City
China Miéville

The master of urban fantasy concocts a world in which sister cities abhor each other to the point of creating an extreme bureaucratic and racial nightmare. Reviewed by Will Wlizlo

Generosity: An Enhancement
Richard Powers

Powers explores the enigmatic and elusive emotional state of happiness, and how too close of an examination into its source can destroy it. Reviewed by Allan Vorda

The Resurrectionist
Jack O’Connell

Part fantasy, part noir detective fiction, this novel delves into the murky lines of reality, blurring spacetime, dream, and narrative. Reviewed by by Vincent Czyz

Fugue State
Brian Evenson

Abetted by cartoonist Zak Sally's illustrations, Evenson's latest collection of short stories flirts with horror and humor as it leads us through apocalypse, plague, and real-world terrors. Reviewed by Katie Haegele

White is for Witching
Helen Oyeyemi

Oyeyemi's third novel succeeds by being simultaneously a ghost story and a tale of young love, a saga of childhood lost and an allegory on fear-fueled politics. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

Delhi Noir
edited by Hirsh Sawhney

A diverse collection of writers, few of whom readers in this country will have already encountered, portray the seedier sides of life in India’s capital. Their stories are noir, but they’re also news. Reviewed by Rav Grewal-Kök

José Manuel Prieto

Rex is a philosophical fiction in the genre of the thriller, a noir novel mixed with questions of language, fabrication, and perception. Reviewed by Gray Kochhar-Lindgren

Do Time Get Time
Andrei Rubanov

Rubanov's debut novel is a semi-autobiographical handbook-of-the-revolution for Russia's post-1991 entrepreneurs. Reviewed by Matthew Thrasher


Bones of Fairie
Janni Lee Simmer

Simmer’s debut young adult novel gives us the story of Liza, a fifteen-year-old girl forced to navigate through the wreckage of a post-apocalyptic world—and through the broken remains of her basic assumptions about this world, and how it works. Reviewed by Will Alexander


The Monstrosity of Christ
Slavoj Žižek and John Milbank

Two philosophers discuss the “religious turn” in contemporary philosophy, and the possibilities that religious models present for politico-economic revolution. Reviewed by Jeremy Biles

Robin Hemley

Hemley returns to ten unsavory disappointments of his youth, providing a bevy of cultural insights and non-didactic “teaching” moments along the way. Reviewed by Virginia Konchan

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto
Michael Pollan

Pollan convincingly argues against “nutritionism”—the drive to create imitation food-like substances that have been altered by the processed food industries and then enriched with vitamins. Reviewed by Alexander Deley

You Know What I Mean?
Ruth Wajnryb

Wajnryb attempts to tackle the oddities of meaning: how certain words and phrases have developed over time, how they behave, what forces dictate the changes in language today, and why we choose the words we do. Reviewed by Abby Travis

Capture the Flag
Woden Teachout

Teachout takes on the tricky business of the American Flag and its symbolism throughout American history. Reviewed by Bob Sommer

Gabriel García Márquez: A Life
Gerald Martin

A new biography of the nobel laureate offers great insight into the author’s complex life of struggles with others and with himself as he created some of the most unforgettable fiction of the last fifty years. Reviewed by W. C. Bamberger


The Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry: a Bilingual Anthology
edited by Cecilia Vicuña and Ernesto Livon-Grosman

This uniqiue anthology should usher in a new era of translation of Latin American poetry, one that is long overdue. Reviewed by John Herbert Cunningham

Yusef Komunyakaa

Komunyakaa’s most recent collection of poetry is a lyrical contemplation of humankind’s wardrive, as well as a much needed consideration of our country’s militaristic role in recent history. Reviewed by Miguel Murphy

The Alps
Brandon Shimoda

There’s a meditative feel to Shimoda’s work, a wandering in the lines, yet a certain precision unfolds in his descriptions of the famed Swiss mountain range. Reviewed by Craig Santos Perez

Thanksgiving Dawn
John Graber

Graber has traveled a long road to his first collection, Thanksgiving Dawn, which collects poems from the 1970s to the present. Reviewed by Emilio DeGrazia

Rae Armantrout

Preoccupied with modes of communication and intentions, Versed is the poetry of this and that; its poems do not waver in their determination to sort out what goes with what. Reviewed by Todd Pederson

World’s End
Pablo Neruda

Looking back at the twentieth century, Pablo Neruda wrote this reflective book-length poem, tallying both personal mistakes and the bloody events of “the age of ashes.” Reviewed by John Bradley

I Wrote Stone
The Selected Poetry of Ryszard Kapuściński

Contrary to our appetite for downtrodden Eastern European poets, Kapuściński should be read as an artist who managed to “make it” in Soviet Poland, a highly public figure who took calculated risks and survived. Reviewed by Amy Groshek

Rapid Eye Movement
Peter Jaeger

With two simultaneously running discourses, one from the dream world and the other from various social discourses pertaining to dreams, this book serves as “a record of our culture dreaming.” Reviewed by Chris Pusateri


Asterios Polyp
David Mazzucchelli

In his first solo graphic novel, Mazzucchelli revels in the art form, producing a harmonious and revelatory arrangement of image and word. Reviewed by Britt Aamodt

Unknown Soldier: Haunted House
Joshua Dysart and Alberto Ponticelli

This disquieting and enthralling graphic novel takes on the bloody Ugandan war, offering a twist on the trope of the masked avenger in the process. Reviewed by Spencer Dew

You’ll Never Know: A Good and Decent Man
C. Tyler

Modeled on a scrapbook, Tyler’s newest book is a tribute to craftsmanship, much like the home repair we see her father, the “good and decent man” of the title, often undertaking. Reviewed by Ken Chen


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