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Reviews

Thursday, July 24 2003

The Low End of Higher Things by David Clewell

Author of six poetry collections, winner of the National Poetry Series, and professor of writing and literature at Webster University, Clewell celebrates this quirky adventure we call life, and does it with grace, style and aplomb.


Cinema’s Missing Children by Emma Wilson

The ascent of the vanished child to the level of national preoccupation is nothing new to film scholar Emma Wilson, who has been tracking the phenomenon in both Europe and the United States for years. Wilson, a professor at Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University, contends that images of missing children have become among the most predominant and haunting in western art, particularly in film.


Tuesday, July 8 2003

The Only Girl in the Car by Kathie Dobie

She reminds us that we do not live a soap opera, even if time to time, melodrama pervades. Dobie conveys her path of maturity with articulate, yet readable prose.


The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan

She is the most powerful person in the world's most advanced civilization, but while she is wily as a fox, she isn't necessarily wise as an owl. She crushes opposition in the zenana where she ruins lives and alienates her few supporters. They get their revenge.


Dance of Days: Two Decades of Punk in the Nation’s Capital by Mark Andersen, Mark Jenkins

Chronicling the electrifying 1980-90s hardcore scene (or harDCore, as it was called), Dance of Days tells the tale of the bands that fought or social change in the nation's capital while putting out some of the fierce albums ever heard.


The Boy on The Bus by Deborah Schupack

The strength of her psychological thriller lies in her frugal, yet powerful, construction of sentences. They have a jaunty, almost nervous value, and she never gives too much away.


The Bloodaxe Book of Modern Welsh Poetry: 20th Century Welsh Poetry in Translation by Menna Elfyn &

A survey of modern Welsh-language poetry that is variable in quality but consistently interesting in the political histories it maps out in potted biographies and in the introductory essay, which announces the book as 'the first definitive anthology of 20th century Welsh-language poetry in English translation'.


Wednesday, July 2 2003

Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath by Kate Moses

See, in the end, Sylvia Plath did kill herself. Moses comes off as Plath's posthumous ally, augmenting Plath's feminist prowess to incredulous heights.


Plant Life by Pamela Duncan

Through the lives of her characters and the conversations they have, she reinforces the strength and resiliency of the human spirit, and offers up a sober antidote to the pervasive shrillness of 'reality television'.


A Consumer’s Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America by Lizabeth Cohen

Where Cohen really excels is showing how social, economic and political forces came together in the Consumers' Republic. After the Second World War, converting back to the peacetime economy meant also reestablishing the dominance of the mostly white men coming home from service.


The Crash of Hennington by Patrick Ness

For a novel that reads like a satirical modern day soap opera veering on the edge of science fiction, The Crash of Hennington is in a genre of its own.


Thursday, June 26 2003

The Teammates by David Halberstam

It is a perverse, almost masochistic mode of operation, but it is how American popular culture works. The more the stars stay away, the more we try to pull them closer.


Something for Nothing: Luck in America by Jackson Lears

With a legacy son in the White House and the rewards of hard work a crapshoot (thanks to corporate grifters like Enron), these days more attention is turning to the place of luck in American culture.


Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan by Christina Lamb

Though heartbreaking, Lamb's book is a beautiful gift to Afghanistan and essential to understanding a people beyond news clips.


Stasiland: True Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

Funder presents what is essentially a journalistic narrative in the style of a fictional one, so that characters and thematic threads link up to elaborate deeper symbolic significances.


Surviving the Death of a Sibling: Living Through Grief When an Adult Brother or Sister Dies by TJ Wr

The Surviving Siblings -- a pointedly misunderstood and heartbroken group with no clubhouse.


Thursday, June 19 2003

PopMatters Literary Journal Review: One Story

Where the standard literary journal packs a barrage of punches by amassing a collection of pieces (short stories, poems, art, nonfiction, detritus), One Story strikes quick and hard with its one forceful fist.


Villa Incognito by Tom Robbins

The world needs Tom Robbins to offer fresh and glorious insight -- with no reservations whatsoever -- about those little pieces of humanity and society that flummox us most.


Sitting Shiva by Elliot Feldman

Alexander Portnoy meets Don Corleone? Philip Roth teams up with Mario Puzo? Well, not exactly, but Feldman lends the somewhat cliched mob themes a slightly different flavor, at least.


The Best Short Stories of Leslea Newman by Leslea Newman

The act of family building is central in this book, whether it involves one's relationship with parents or trying to conceive a child with a turkey baster.


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