Sister Séance, the most recent novel by Aimee Parkison, far surpassed my proclivity toward all things strange and unusual and emparted a new context for one of the greatest and most fascinating movements of the 19th century.
What kind of feminist would rather be labeled, according to real estate terminology, as chattel real, rather than flipping that metaphor literally to lord of the land? With all the privileges and advantages real estate offers for wealth building, why just daydream about it if one has book advances and award money to buy a little security? These are questions inevitably raised, but not resolved, in Deborah Levys third book in a contemplative memoir series, Real Estate.
I sat on the beach with Jonathan Franzens forthcoming almost-600 page novel balanced on my knees, deep in his version of 1971 America. But as I dove into wave after wave, I was thinking instead of the glorious sea-infused debut by Mombasa-born Khadija Abdalla Bajaber.
Despite The Italian's historical focus, the novel casts light on both future and past, dramatizing a sweeping change that doesnt appear to make much difference.
We see particular impact of womanly influence in three new literary works (a book of short stories, a memoir, and a novel), all possessing a familiar theme of women in society and the female influences we find every day.
Where di Primas Annals offers first hand testament of what served as the countercultural underbelly of American cities poet and artists of her and Ginsbergs generation thrived within, and also suffered through, the poems collected in her now underground classic Revolutionary Letters serve as directional guides regarding guerilla activities pushing an information blitz intended to spark cultural revolution.
You dont need to have read or even know of the late Benjamin Blacks previous Quirke novels, set in the 1950s, to understand and enjoy April in Spain. Its an exciting page turner with plenty of dark and quirky characters. The cranky Irishmans crime fans will consider this the eighth novel in the Quirke series of crime novels, even though its written by the fellow who shut Black in a room with a pistol, a phial of sleeping pills and a bottle of Scotch.
Sometimes people come into our life and help us find the truth we have been searching for all along. Clare Chambers (Learning to Swim) explores that idea in her latest novel, Small Pleasures, while keeping us entertained in a mystery behind an alleged miracle.
Lets start by stating the obvious: Lincoln Michel is an enormously talented writer, and one of the things he does exceptionally well is blend genres. I say that because The Body Scout is a mashup of cyberpunk, noir detective novel, and literary fiction centered on the premise of what it means to be human, and well worth the advance buzz it has already received.
I met Martha Cooley in 1999 when, as a then-visiting writer in the Bennington MFA program, she gave a series of lectures, one of which covered Milan Kundera. Martha joined Benningtons fiction faculty, teaching in the program for fifteen years; I was fortunate to study with her there.