NWPR Books

NWPR Books
2:29 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

'Broken Monsters' Hits Horror Out Of The Park

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 11:58 am

The world has become hard to shock. It's not because evil is a new thing — that's been around since the beginning of time, and it definitely wasn't created by movies, video games and every other popular scapegoat for the decline of society. But it's undeniable that we've all become a little inured to things that might have been considered unspeakably horrifying 50 years ago.

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NWPR Books
2:26 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Calvino's Cosmicomic Collection Treads The Final Frontier: America

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Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 8:05 am

Italo Calvino has a habit that's hard not to find disconcerting. Halfway through a story, or even a few sentences in, he often pauses — briefly, glibly — to mention in passing that everything he has written so far is wrong. Oh, and the same goes for what's to come. But it's best not to let it slow us down, he suggests. This will happen sometimes when you're inventing worlds and ideas that can't be put into words.

But words are all he's got — so deal with it.

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NWPR Books
4:09 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

The Monstrous And The Beautiful Dance In 'White Van'

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 10:24 am

In the opening chapter of Wolf in White Van, the debut novel from singer-songwriter John Darnielle, protagonist Sean Phillips descends into a memory, and imagines other paths within it. "There are several possibilities," he tells us of a hallway in his family's home, with its many doors and secrets. "They open onto their own clusters of new ones, and there's an end somewhere, I'm sure, but I'll never see it."

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NWPR Books
4:41 pm
Sun September 14, 2014

A Fresh Take On Dystopia In 'Chimpanzee'

The recent wave of dystopian novels — okay, let's call it a glut — has focused attention on all kinds of Earth-threatening ills, from climate change to genetically modified food. The plight of student-loan debtors and struggling academics, however, hasn't usually topped that list. Which is partly what makes Darin Bradley's latest novel, Chimpanzee, so fascinating, flaws and all.

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NWPR Books
7:03 am
Sat September 13, 2014

The 'Witch With No Name' Rides Into The Sunset, In Style

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It's a bright cool day in September and the books now number 13. Kim Harrison has concluded her long-running Hollows series, the 10-year-anniversary of which I marked back in April, and I am bereft. In The Witch With No Name, Rachel Morgan, Ivy Tamwood and Jenks the pixy have their last string of adventures together in a modern-day Cincinnati riddled with elves, witches, vampires living and undead, werewolves, fairies and demons, in a rollercoaster ride of interlocking shenanigans that left me a little breathless.

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NWPR Books
2:36 am
Sat September 13, 2014

'The Dog': Dubious Dealings In Dubai

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One measure of a fine writer is the ability to master new tricks. Joseph O'Neill's new novel, The Dog, is a different animal (so to speak) from Netherland, his remarkable PEN/Faulkner Award-winner about a Dutch financial analyst adrift in New York in the aftermath of 9/11. Though both involve romantic estrangement in a globalized but alienating world, The Dog focuses more narrowly — and sometimes claustrophobically — on one man's hopeless, deluded efforts to live blamelessly in a distressingly mean-spirited, soulless society.

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NWPR Books
3:32 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

As Independence Vote Approaches, A Spirited Novel About The Scottish Experience

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 5:12 pm

In my 20s I was living in London, and dating a Scotsman. A friend pulled me aside. "Read The Crow Road by Iain Banks," he told me. "It's the story of our childhood. Read this and you'll understand us."

The Crow Road is a darkly witty coming-of-age novel. It's set in the early '90s in a mostly realistic Scotland.

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NWPR Books
10:08 am
Thu September 11, 2014

The Ecstatic Blankness Of Poet Louise Glück

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Louise Glück is in love with silence — her poems strain towards nothingness. "The unsaid, for me, exerts great power: often I wish an entire poem could be made in this vocabulary," she once wrote in an essay. In her new collection, Faithful and Virtuous Night, one poem features a painter, aging and facing his own decline, who paints canvases that are "immense and entirely white."

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NWPR Books
9:29 am
Thu September 11, 2014

'Father And Son' Is Part Homage, Part Indictment

Add Marcos Giralt Torrente's Father and Son: A Lifetime to the shortlist of worthwhile memoirs about mourning a parent — a list that includes Philip Roth's Patrimony, Paul Auster's The Invention of Solitude, and Hanif Kureishi's My Ear at His Heart, all of which the author cites as touchstones for his exploration.

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NWPR Books
10:09 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Oates' Latest Story Collection Is 'Dark, Deep' And Marvelous

Norman Mailer, one of the most prolific American writers of the 20th century, may have compared himself to some of the heavyweights of modern literature. But Joyce Carol Oates is an entire sports complex, including the Olympic-sized pools and the locker rooms.

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