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But neither story is resolved.

Composition-Rhetoric, by Stratton D. Brooks and Marietta Hubbard

Between these two characters are degrees of connection and notes of resonance, but no specific similarities. With a simple, tragic accident. When does art become exploitative? To what does the emerging artist owe her allegiance? To community? To love? To her own aspirations, and nothing else? Classifying Mira T.

It weaves in several Big Themes: immigration in America, mental illness, romantic love, motherhood. This collection is as intelligent as it is incisive. After being imprisoned for a drug-related homicide in , Dawkins started writing because it gave him hope. He does this by focusing on the central themes that vein these stories: loneliness, longing, and claustrophobia.

By opening the chapbook with a story in the form of a flowchart, McElroy expands our notion of what fiction is and what it can do. Much of What We Lose , an innovative and engaging debut novel by Zinzi Clemmons, is about being stuck in the in-between. The protagonist, Thandi, is of mixed-race, with an American father and a South African mother. Over the course of the book, Thandi matures from a teenager to a young woman. In all these instances, she interrogates each binary as well as the space in between as she tries to figure out who she is and how to move forward.

The result is a fast-paced novel about sacrifice and dedication, as it follows college senior and wrestling national championship hopeful Stephen Florida in his attempt to win the lb weight class. The year is The United States, its shorelines eaten away by mega-hurricanes and rising seas, has splintered apart. Mexico has reclaimed large swathes of the southwest. And the states of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi, enraged by a governmental ban on fossil fuels, have seceded into a Free Southern State.

Ecosystems perpetually hang in delicate balance, as much with humans as any other species. Our current political conversation often revolves around the financial disparities rampant in American culture. Words pile on in fragile rhythms. Sentences are constructed out of negative space. The unsaid lingers. Fragments dominate. Each story exists only for a short time, breaking off suddenly. An atmosphere of absence seeps into each one, the fear of being left behind.

But unexpected success arrives with the publication of his sixth book, a memoir about his service and eventual desertion during the Vietnam War. The disastrous consequences of the book tour are chronicled with humorous precision and deep feeling by Price, transforming The Grand Tour from a comedic road trip novel into a meditation on the relationship between creation, desperation, and hope. Knife pushers, diggers, painters, can pickers, snake mimes, fire chasers, thieves and ice-cream men populate the stories in Dustin M.

The stories here feature men and they are largely men who live by their hands, who work in subdivisions, who build cookie-cutter houses. They are defined by their work, by toil and back-break. They live hardscrabble lives and are either aiming higher or sinking slowly down. And, indeed, you will have a good time reading this collection, but you will have an even better time on your second or third read.

The flatness of the prose and the disconnection between characters can initially create a distance between the reader and the stories.


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As you continue reading, though, the echoes within and between the stories build and grow. The sense of surprise—of never knowing where a story is heading—is embedded in every story, and the characters—who are so truly drawn that they seem like people we know or perhaps are even stark reflections of our inner selves—begin to haunt the reader and stay with us long after we have finished reading.

The Girls debuted in June to big fan fare. Before The Girls hit shelves—which Cline wrote in approximately three months—the novel was a success among reviewers, who applauded the young writer for her work on the sentence level.

It is a book about the ways people rebound from injury, from heartache, from death. This debut novel follows its characters as they learn the limits of their bodies and struggle to entrust themselves to those around them. He approaches from alternately sympathetic, adversarial, and prophetic angles the slippery morality that arises when people are forced into the roles of predator and prey. It is a lengthy book with an experimental format, containing excerpts from essays, dream-like sequences, diaries, and factual information situated amidst the primary story of Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings.

At turns playful and poignant, Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings is an in-depth look at what the literal process of a life of cognitive dissonance entails, about the repeated, daily failure to reconcile one of the most glaring hypocrisies in the history of the United States. Pairing hypersaturated sentences with high-concept surrealism, Goodrich has managed to tweak the parameters of our reality to present a world transformed.

This idea of constant change hums through each story in the collection—the ways we morph and adjust in our unsteady universe, and the ways we try to hold on. Prentiss refuses to hold punches, finding the spot that bleeds emotion and holding it open for all she can take. The book shifts between the perspectives of three characters: a synesthetic art critic, James Bennett; an orphaned Argentinian painter, Raul Engales; and a small town girl new to the big city, Lucy Olliason.

When you come down to it, that is what much of this novel is about: the lasting effect that one life can have upon another. Set in the San Francisco Bay area in , the novel is populated by a generation of misguided and occasionally misanthropic men and women drifting into their thirties.

Gallagher is the author of the popular and highly controversial blog-to-book Kaboom: Embracing the Suck in a Savage Little War, which chronicles his time as a soldier in and The book focuses on Farm Town , a Facebook game that was a precursor to the more well known Farmville. It consists of sixty-one chapters, probably better described as meditations: they are coherent in themselves, but still connect to the novella more broadly. The fractured, disjointed format helps to illuminate a number of disconnects that Farmer seems to be working with: the distance between our real selves and our online selves, the disintegration of the American dream, and perhaps most of all, the lack a clear distinction between the rural and the urban.

The novel moves with the assured pace of a thriller, while sentence by sentence Null plays with the language of place, of longing, and of violence. Within the book are echoes of Edward P. Frankly no first novel has the right to be this good—and yet, Null succeeds. He announces himself as a fully formed novelist. Written over a period of twelve years, most of these stories have been published elsewhere, including four stories chosen for Best American Short Stories. Makkai is primarily interested in searching for meaning, creating connections and investigating causality. The stories consider and question their subjects from many different angles; the best stories in this collection leave those questions unanswered.

These are the stories that ask to be read multiple times, stories that resonate and haunt. Debut novelist Julie Iromuanya holds a long list of accolades: published by The Kenyon Review and the Tampa Review , among others; shortlisted for several prizes, including ones from our Portland publishing comrade Glimmer Train ; earned a Ph.

She clearly comes at novel writing from a sophisticated and measured perspective, and the craft shown within her debut novel, Mr. Doctor , is evidence of that.

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With direct and approachable language, Tarry covers experimental writing, flash fiction, fantasy, and coming-of-age in a collection that is contemplative and warm; each of his stories is laced with humor and heart. The Employment Insurance money never makes it to Sunday.

Especially with Saturday night parked neatly in the way. She is immune to a deadly epidemic that has swept the nation. One that begins with silver blisters on the skin and ends in memory loss and death. Satin Island is the first-person narrative of U. Ugly Girls by Lindsay Hunter was released in November, but readers should consider this late title a spring-reading essential. Baby Girl lives with her uncle and brain-damaged older brother, who was once a popular neighborhood bad boy.

Ugly Girls tracks the girls through a complicated friendship: they steal cars, skip school, and sneak out at night, testing the boundaries of the barely-there rules imposed on them, and the degree to which they care about themselves and each other.


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  8. Megan Mayhew Bergman, known for Birds of a Lesser Paradise, her first book of short stories, has written a new collection that was published by Scribner this month. Almost Famous Women tells the fictionalized stories of historical women on the fringes of fame. Bergman writes their lives into a larger existence than the footnotes to which they have been relegated. A grandmother levitates while describing the Rapture. A nursing home outfits its patients with strap-on robotic limbs and embeds tracking devices in their arms. Packs of feral dogs roam the landscape. A robot is programmed to love.

    Book Reviews

    Rather, these stories feel like universes that exist right alongside our own—tiny pockets of possibility. It collects speeches given by ten well-known authors on literature and craft, with warm words of introduction from Jon Raymond. Though I preferred the speeches that felt playful and biographical, as opposed to theory-heavy, the quality level is uniformly high. Dare I suggest that the unpublished majority find something vaguely aspirational in the very act of reading these essays? Loitering got to me. What really excited those same friends and colleagues though, what lowered their tones, made them more conspiratorial, were his essays.

    I imagined a great writer could put us in those situations and wring a terrific story out of them. Lev was bullied and beaten at school; his sister was barred from attending medical school; and his father was threatened by the KGB. When news came that the United States was closing its border, and all immigrants had to be registered in Vienna by December 31 st , , his mother knew that it was time to leave.

    Six weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Lev and his family board a bus out of the country, headed toward Vienna, where there is only a simple rumor of help for refugees. The Ploughmen , now available through publisher Henry Holt, is the perfect book to read this autumn. Kim Zupan weaves a story that is equal parts discomfiting and beautiful, desolate and richly imagined. Set in the wilds of rural Montana, The Ploughmen follows the complicated relationship between a rookie deputy and the serial killer caged in his jailhouse.

    The novel explores the essence of friendship and morality. Out of a set of unique constraints, Michael McGriff and J. Tyree have written a strange and wonderful little book of fiction. Our Secret Life in the Movies does not follow any obvious narrative path, depending instead on a set of prompts to lead the way. The authors, former university classmates, decided to watch the entire Criterion Collection and write stories based on each film. This slim volume of short fiction is the result, a work of experimental writing that offers mainstream readers cinematic references as ballast.

    Emily St. This ambitious story tackles a post-apocalyptic world in which a super flu has wiped out the majority of the population.

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    Examining themes of celebrity and memory, Mandel explores how our world would change in the face of a major collapse. The book begins with a stage play of King Lear. Arthur Leander is an A-list celebrity who drops dead during the performance, an event that might otherwise dominate a fame-obsessed culture. No contemporary author knows more about the fairy tale than Kate Bernheimer.

    Her scholarship and fiction both work to promote public understanding of this often-misrepresented genre. She has edited several anthologies of fiction and criticism in which major contemporary authors contemplate and reimagine classic tales. Bernheimer has done more than anyone to give these timeless stories a voice, and to examine the contemporary way we relate to them.

    Her story begins while at a dreary phenomenology conference, where she sneaks away to explore a Mixed Martial Arts tournament being held in the same hotel. Piper Gallagher is a year-old rookie EMT, coming to the profession after a bad breakup and a series of dead-end jobs. She just wants to do something with her life, and if that means she gets trained by a badass EMT years younger than her, so be it. As she goes through training, Piper fumbles through taking vitals, filling out paperwork, navigating the streets of South Central L. Goodhouse takes place eighty-odd years in the future, when America has worked to curb crime through the compulsory genetic testing of boys.

    It has been discovered that a certain set of biometric markers determine whether a child will be predisposed to criminal thoughts and actions. Boys who test positive are sent to the Goodhouse system, where they are raised as wards of the state in prison-like boarding schools rife with chronic abuse.

    Her first collection of short stories, Wallflowers , is out on September 16 th from Bloomsbury. With that in mind, I had high expectations when I began reading Wallflowers. I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed. He informs the reader that no one ever asks if they can look; mostly they stare, disgusted, horrified. They high-five him, blowing smoke away from him in deference. And no one can do it quite like Roxane Gay. In short, I knew I was going to love this book, and it still surpassed my expectations.

    Straightaway, the reader is given the bare bones of the story. In the subsequent chapters, meat is added to the bones of this narrative, until it becomes a living, breathing creature. A nine-year-old girl has lost her mother and wants to be a jazz singer. A club owner discovers he may lose his building, and a fifth grade teacher reunites with her high school love. This is a love letter to an American West that has all but disappeared. Challenge well met, Hemenway. The stories in Elegy On Kinderklavier Sarabande Books, , his debut collection, are astonishingly confident.

    In the title story, a man makes a bet that he will have sex with the woman who lives across the street from his illegal poker games—in clear view of his fellow gamblers. More often than not, they bemoan it. Female friendships are often complicated and layered. Made to Break is a boozy, fast-paced, tweaked out bingefest. Her job transition serves as the impetus for the party, but also forces the pack of thirty-somethings to examine group dynamics—and thus themselves—on the eve of inevitable change.

    The Awakening of Miss Prim follows, as one might suppose, the story of Miss Prim, a young woman who leaves behind her busy city life to take a job as a librarian in a remote village of France. San Ireneo de Arnois is not like most places, however. It is devoted to the simplicity of life, an enclave of exiles who have fled the bustling outside world in order to live purposefully, surrounded by intellectual discussions, literature, family, and a great many teatimes.

    While studying abroad in college, I had a flatmate who spent hours playing a genre of sports video games that I could never imagine taking off in the States. In these PC and console games, you put together a roster for a football team, and use adjustments and stat tracking to give your squad the best chance of advancing to the finals. Finalize your lineup and match results are rendered with the click of a button. You never even see the pitch. Anyone who calls it soccer is less likely to understand this world than the football fanatics whose every waking moment is dedicated to one sport and one sport only.

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    Though The Untold is a work of fiction, it is inspired by the life of Jessie Hickman, a circus rider, horse thief, convict, fugitive, and all-around wild woman who hid out in the Australian Outback in the s. The book has already garnered critical acclaim and been shortlisted for several awards. The novel opens with an almost unspeakable scene. Unlimited One-Day Delivery and more. There's a problem loading this menu at the moment.

    Learn more about Amazon Prime. Books By Sandra Bunino. Lawless Nov Cameron , Elyzabeth M. Carter , Kait Gamble. Get it by Tuesday, Jul His Aug Uniform Fetish Feb Maylee , Wren Michaels , Meredith J. Platinum Aug Marooned with the Millionaire Apr Currently unavailable.

    ~ All my reviews are based on copies I received courtesy of publishers and/or authors.

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