Issue 25 Reviews
Joshua Beckman, The Inside of an Apple
Reviewed by Sara Lupita Olivares
Because I ‘m curious—and because I probably won’t ever be let inside of an apple—I was lured to Joshua Beckman’s latest poetry collection. Beckman, author of Shake, Take It, and Porch Light (lamp and chair) is an editor at Wave Books. As with many of Wave’s books, the cover of The Inside of an Apple is minimalistic—black letters on a white, static-specked page.
Noam Chomsky and Laray Polk, Nuclear War and Environmental Catastrophe
Reviewed by Graeme Mullen
When I was seven years old, the 1990 ABC Earth Day Special changed my life—for the worse. The all-star cast (which included Murphy Brown, Doogie Howser, Mork and several prominent Muppets) lamenting the deterioration of Mother Nature (Bette Midler in a leafy green outfit) under a black, lightning-streaked sky was all too ominous for my malleable young mind to handle.
Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess, X Marks the Dress: A Registry
Reviewed by Laura Drell
In the first of X Marks the Dress: A Registry, Kristina Marie Darling and Carol Guess introduce us to the first of many voices that haunt the collection. The book opens with a sequence of prose poems chronicling the relationship of a couple through their wedding and their subsequent tumultuous marriage.
Kim Henderson, The Kind of Girl
Reviewed by Chelsea Campbell
Every girl is a “kind” of girl: the ugly girl, the bad girl, the jealous girl, the defiant girl, the loyal girl, the nice girl, the strong girl, the lucky girl, but Kim Henderson’s girls, those populating these thirteen short-short stories, at once affirm and complicate these categorizations. The stories take these girls and give them, as Henderson writes, “some new adjectives.”
Tao Lin, Taipei
Reviewed by Kamron Mehrinfar
You may have heard about Tao Lin’s latest novel, Taipei, and its divisively wordy prose, ironic articulation of hipster boredom, or even the book’s shiny, computer-graphic-inspired cover. Lin’s detractors critique his overly literal narration while devotees laud his meticulous documentation of a generation raised on the Internet. No matter what you’ve heard, my advice would be: Don’t believe the hype.
Jordaan Mason, The Skin Team
Reviewed by Jeremy Bauer
The strangeness of ancient myth, whether Norse, Greek, Indian, Japanese, etc., attains a certain palpability from the degree to which the actions and imagery are impossible. The stories feature dove-armed and glowing consciousnesses, mutant kids with haunting anger and animal heads. Contemporary myths, in contrast, are akin to daddies lost to coalmines, photographic ghosts, and what happens when a distant cousin mixes Jäger with PBR, Jeep Grand Cherokees, and the oldest river bridge in the state. In these stories, Jordaan Mason mixes the fantastic with the concretely real—with stronger emphasis on the latter detail.
Letitia Moffitt, Sidewalk Dancing
Reviewed by Mike Pitoniak
if you have reservations about the novel-in-stories form, they are needless in regard to Sidewalk Dancing, Letitia Moffitt’s debut novel. It becomes clear early on that, although Miranda McGee is the central character and primary mover of the novel’s narrative, it’s Miranda’s mother, Grace, who’s the heart and soul of the narrative. The early stories in the collection far pre-date the introduction of the central character and cement the remainder of the book under the heading of complicated family affair.
Sarah Terez Rosenblum, Herself When She’s Missing
Reviewed by Cristina Chopalli
Sarah Terez Rosenblum’s debut novel, Herself When She’s Missing, is a masterful reflection on the cohabitation of regret and happiness that accompanies sexual obsession. The novel, which has been labeled a contemporary lesbian novel, transcends sexual orientation, and instead showcases the universal complexities of romantic relationships through the flawed relationship between Andrea, a quasi-responsible twenty-something, and her on-again, off-again lover, Jordan.
Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, The End of San Francisco
Reviewed by M. Perna
if you read one memoir this year, pick up Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s The End of San Francisco. Sycamore’s avant-garde narrative describes her lifelong search for a queer community—an engaged, critical place of being, outside gay or straight norms. It's an honest and bold look at sexual abuse, societal brutality, radical queer activism, and self-determination.