historical fiction

NWPR Books
3:26 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

A Ghostly Chorus Narrates 'The World Before Us'

Emily Jan NPR

A gaggle of querulous ghosts narrates the events in Aislinn Hunter's new novel The World Before Us. Hunter, a Canadian author of both fiction and poetry, brings a moody grace to these phantoms and to her telling of this rather quirky tale. The novel spans three time periods: The present, a generation earlier, and the late 19th century. The spirits present themselves as witnesses to each period, and they become characters as rich and personal as any blood-and-bones characters in the novel.

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NWPR Books
10:58 am
Sat March 7, 2015

30 Seconds That Echo Through History In 'Epitaph'

Courtesy of HarperCollins

Three pages, and really not even that.

Really, 46 lines. In a book of nearly 600 pages total. 46 lines to describe the action of 30 seconds — which would become 30 of the best-known seconds in American history. Which would, whether true or false, become one of this country's foundational myths: The gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

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NWPR Books
7:03 am
Wed March 4, 2015

A Vivid Portrait Of Tudor Turmoil In 'Lamentation'


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.

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NWPR Books
7:58 am
Wed February 4, 2015

A Few Wise Moves Lift 'Prudence' From Melodrama To Something More

Prudence, by David Treuer

Don't fuss too much about the woman left dead in the room above the village bar. Poor Prudence may lend her name to the novel's title, but, splayed alone as she is in the summer heat, the opening lines find the young woman with nothing left to say. And, when they do stumble upon her body, her neighbors and friends have little more to add to that resounding silence.

"It was, as dramatic events go, quiet," says author David Treuer, as if with one finger raised to his lips. "It was too hot, in any event, to do more than sit and shake one's head."

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NWPR Books
6:59 am
Tue February 3, 2015

'Funny Girl' Is A Book Made For Binge-Watching

Leave it to Nick Hornby to produce a smart comic novel that pits light entertainment against serious art and comes through as winning proof of the possibility of combining the two.

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NWPR Books
10:17 am
Mon January 26, 2015

These 13 'Almost Famous Women' Stirred Up Trouble, Or Trouble Found Them

One of Megan Mayhew Bergman's short stories is based on the life of dancer and actress Butterfly McQueen.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 11:17 am

Almost Famous Women is the kind of "high concept" short-story collection that invites skepticism. These stories are about 13 historical women whose names you mostly might sort-of recognize. Beryl Markham, Butterfly McQueen and Shirley Jackson are slam-dunks, but Romaine Brooks and Joe Carstairs are a bit blurrier. While the family names of Allegra Byron, Dolly Wilde and Norma Millay betray their relation to important figures, we don't know what they did. And who the heck was Hazel Eaton or Tiny Davis?

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NWPR Books
2:52 am
Sun January 18, 2015

It's A Chump's Life In 'Amnesia'

"I worked as a journalist in a country where the flow of information was controlled by three corporations. Their ability to manipulate the truth made the right to vote largely meaningless, but I was a journalist ... I was overweight and out of breath but I was proud to be sued, reviled, scorned, to be called a loser by the rewriters of press releases."

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