fiction

NWPR Books
7:03 am
Wed March 4, 2015

A Vivid Portrait Of Tudor Turmoil In 'Lamentation'

NPR

We start with a pyre: A young woman and three men are to burn, condemned as heretics. In vivid, often graphic prose, C.J. Sansom uses this horrific scene to set the stage for Lamentation, the sixth installment of his Matthew Shardlake mysteries, set in Tudor England. It's 1546; the dying King Henry VIII — having broken with Rome a decade before — is wavering on religious policy, and supporters of his previous reforms fear for their lives as the hunt for heretics intensifies.

Read more
NWPR Books
4:38 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

'The Devil's Detective' Is A Grim Tour Through A Noirish Hell

Courtesy of Doubleday

Sartre famously wrote that hell is other people. For many fantasy writers, though, it's a bureaucracy. In fact, the whole hell-as-bureaucracy theme has become hackneyed over the years — as much of a cliché as, well, bureaucracies being hellish.

Read more
NWPR Books
11:19 am
Tue March 3, 2015

'Welcome To Braggsville' Isn't Quite 'Invisible Man,' But It's Close

Emily Jan NPR

Here's only a partial list of great American writers whose names came to mind as I was reading T. Geronimo Johnson's new novel, Welcome to Braggsville: Tom Wolfe, Mark Twain, Toni Morrison, H.L. Mencken, Don DeLillo, David Foster Wallace, Norman Mailer and Ralph Ellison, Ralph Ellison, Ralph Ellison. Johnson's timely novel is a tipsy social satire about race and the oh-so-fragile ties that bind disparate parts of this country into an imperfect and restless union.

Read more
NWPR Books
1:18 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

'Beholder' Has An Eye For The Absurd, And A Smirk Beneath Its Beard

Stop me if you've heard this one before: There's this guy, a dude in a bathrobe and a tangled mess of a beard who refuses to go outside. His wife left him nearly two years ago for a man with Greek god's jawline and a glamor job. Shortly before that? The guy's mom died of a painful, debilitating form of cancer, not long after his burgeoning rock band became a moldering pile of rubble. Oh, and that refusal to leave his house? That's just his blooming anxiety — paranoia, even — about the vast and uncaring world around him.

Hilarious, right?

Read more
NWPR Books
4:03 am
Mon March 2, 2015

'The Sellout' Is A Scorchingly Funny Satire On 'Post-Racial' America

Courtesy of Farrar, Straus and Giroux

It's difficult to pin down the exact day when post-racial America was born. Maybe it was when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, or when Thurgood Marshall was appointed the first African American member of the Supreme Court. Maybe it was when Barack Obama was elected president, or the first time a white person claimed to be "colorblind." It's honestly hard to tell, because as we keep seeing proved again and again, "post-racial America" is completely indistinguishable from what came before.

Read more
NWPR Books
4:03 am
Thu February 26, 2015

It's All Charm and Wolves In 'The Turnip Princess'

Long ago in far Bavaria, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth went hunting for fairy tales. However, the collection disappeared, and his work was thought lost forever. Then in 2009, cultural curator Erika Eichenseer discovered five hundred of them in what one assumes must have been the deepest, darkest, most perilous basement of a municipal archive, and all those stories came to life again.

Read more
NWPR Books
7:03 am
Wed February 25, 2015

'Darker Shade' Paints A Fantasy World Rich In Depth And Color

One of the most compelling things about V.E. Schwab's second adult novel, A Darker Shade Of Magic, is how long it takes to develop a plot. Once the main arc finally slips fully out of the shadows, it turns out to be fairly standard for a fantasy novel: Evil scheming magicians, cursed and forbidden item, dark magic ready to consume everything it touches.

Read more
NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue February 24, 2015

'Lucky Alan' Thumbs Its Nose At Convention

A handful of purist holdouts aside, most readers these days realize that "genre fiction" and "literary fiction" aren't mutually exclusive. That's not to say that every paperback on the supermarket shelf is high art, but the list of respected literary genre writers — Poe, Verne, Chandler, Le Guin, to name just a few — is a long one, and it's growing every year.

Read more
NWPR Books
4:03 am
Mon February 23, 2015

A Former Wunderkind Drifts On In 'Some Other Town'

Courtesy of Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins

Five years before the opening of Elizabeth Collison's debut novel Some Other Town, Margaret Lydia Benning comes to a small, unnamed Midwestern town to study art. She has talent in spades: grim visions that manifest in surreal paintings — "A woman in pink diaphanous tulle, wild boars where her legs should be. Bloated bodies in rivers. Eyeless white heads. Severed hearts wet and still beating." — that excite her mentors and draw acclaim within her community. Then, just like that, the visions disappear. Her work slows down, then stops altogether.

Read more
NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sat February 21, 2015

A Lot Of Sound And Fury In 'The Infernal'

I feel that it would be appropriate here to discuss Mark Doten's novel, The Infernal, in fragments, incomplete sentences, blocks of text walled off by line breaks, and nonsense. I want to do this because that's what he did in the writing of it — a trick that (maybe) looks clever at first glance, but isn't.

Read more

Pages