NWPR Books
8:05 am
Mon December 8, 2014

Millennia Of History, Beautifully Illustrated 'Here' In One Room

Here traces millenia of history — and prehistory — within the space of one large room.

What is it about Richard McGuire's Here? A simple-looking, black-and-white cartoon that first appeared in Raw magazine in 1989 — clocking in at a mere 36 panels — it's maintained its hold on comic artists' imaginations ever since. McGuire himself spent more than eight years creating this book-length version.

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NWPR Books
3:03 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

After The California Downpour, 'The Drought' Offers Some Dry Reading

J.G. Ballard didn't exactly predict California's current drought in his 1964 novel The Burning World (later renamed The Drought). But like so many of his books, it does carry eerie hints about humanity's accelerating race to stay ahead of nature.

The Burning World is part of a series of dystopian science-fiction novels that Ballard wrote in the 1960s before he became famous for works like Crash and Empire of the Sun.

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NWPR Books
12:04 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Set In Appalachia, This Rewarding Story Collection Is 'Rich And Strange'

Ron Rash is a poet, novelist and short-story writer whose 2009 novel Serena was a New York Times bestseller. Rash's signature subject is life in Appalachia, past and present.
Ulf Andersen Courtesy of Ecco

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 12:29 pm

Expect to be good for nothing for a long time after you read Ron Rash. His writing is powerful, stripped down and very still: It takes you to a land apart, psychologically and geographically, since his fiction is set in Appalachia.

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NWPR Books
7:41 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Purple Spirit Ninjas And Mohawked Foxes: 'Shutter' Is A New Adventure

Indiana Jones and Lara Croft have nothing on Kate Kristopher.

Indy, Lara and a host of famous explorers get their butts symbolically kicked in Shutter, the first postmodern adventure comic. Kate may be human, but that's about all she has in common with her forebears in the world-traveling biz. Even so, she manages to be cooler than all of them.

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NWPR Books
11:41 am
Wed November 26, 2014

North-Of-The-Border Horror In 'Go Down Together'

"There is a town in north Ontario / With dream comfort memory to spare," sings Neil Young on the 1970 CSNY track "Helpless." "Helpless" also happens to be the title of the tenth and final story in Gemma Files' new collection, We Will All Go Down Together. The similarity isn't a coincidence; Files quotes Young's lyrics directly in another story, "Strange Weight." And the whole volume revolves around a fictional town in northern Ontario called Dourvale — a village which, like the town in Young's song, has dreams and memories to spare.

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NWPR Books
11:28 am
Mon November 24, 2014

These Tales Of Transformation Are Both 'Rich And Strange'

Ron Rash is a Southern-born novelist and short story writer with a reputation on the rise; you might know him as the author of the novel Serena (a PEN/Faulkner fiction prize nominee a few years back), which is about to become a movie with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. I have just finished reading his newly issued collection: 34 pieces of short fiction, previously published from 1998 to 2014, all of them under the title Something Rich and Strange, and I have to say that "rich" and "strange" are two words that aptly apply to this book.

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NWPR Books
7:51 am
Tue November 18, 2014

A 'Garden' Full Of Dazzling, Whimsical Tales

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Small Beer Press

"Real magic, right next door," exclaims a character in "Walpurgis Afternoon," one of the short stories in Delia Sherman's stellar short-story collection, Young Woman in a Garden. In it, a family that's hyperconscious of zoning laws and what the neighbors think are faced with the unimaginable: A huge, elaborate Victorian house appears on their block overnight. Two women live in the house, and the secrets they hold will change everything.

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NWPR Books
9:20 am
Fri November 14, 2014

A New Collection, Well-Furnished With Munro's Best

The citation for Alice Munro's 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature calls her "the master of the contemporary short story" and praises her ability to "say more in thirty words than an ordinary novel is capable of in three hundred."

Munro distills into one story the sweep of a lifetime, with all its sorrows, disappointments and glories. Her work spans the 20th century, but her focus is on ordinary people (mostly in Canada) whose responses to love, lust, seeking community and facing tragedy range from magisterial to frail to vindictive.

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NWPR Books
3:30 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

For Political Junkies, A (Literary) Post-Election Fix

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 5:11 pm

As I watched coverage of this week's midterm elections, I couldn't help but think about Donald Antrim's surreal novel, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World.

The book, a brilliant and wickedly funny satire on our broken politics, unfolds in an unnamed American seaside town. As the story begins, our narrator, a former third-grade teacher named Pete Robinson, sits mysteriously in his padlocked attic, observing the wreckage of his community.

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NWPR Books
9:44 am
Thu November 6, 2014

In The World Of Rare Books, This Mystery Goes Off-Script

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Mysterious Press

Brief as his new novel may be, Bradford Morrow has no problems with taking his time. The fine mists of a seaside vista, the loops and lines of a writer's careful lettering, even the meals his characters eat (truly, just about every single one): None of it escapes the lingering eye of the narrator behind The Forgers. Each detail gets its due — except, of course, the ones he doesn't want you to see.

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