This novel recounts the story of an Indiana woman who assumes the guise of a man, Ash Thompson, to fight for the Union in the Civil War. The opening line, “I was strong and he was not so it was me went to war to defend the Republic” demonstrates how powerfully simply the author writes. No detail of the war or bloodshed is spared, including the gallows humor of men in battle, but the language is so beautiful, with the dialogue ringing so period true, that a perfect balance is struck.
When done right there's something magical about books told from the point of view of an animal. With this sensitive and lovely story Pennypacker carries the torch passed down from Felix Salten (Bambi) and Sterling North (Rascal). When Peter and his fox Pax are seperated by an impending war to be reunited both must face an epic journey that will test and ultimately redeem them. A great read for children of all ages.
This epistolary novel tells the story of Professor Jason Fitger who is busy navigating the back side of his own zeitgeist with something way less than grace. Fitger writes letter after letter full of passive aggressive bile that gradually reveal how he fell so far from favor. Laugh out loud funny, I recommend this book in the strongest possible terms.
Read this book with a box of tissues handy as it is a wrenching story of loss but love this book because it's a spot on, heartfelt examination about the knotty ties of friendship. Even if you aren't familiar with Hersh or Chestnutt so long as you have had your heart good and broken you will get it.
A dark exploration of the world of competative gymnastics that explores the agony and urgency of desire, the unknowablility of others and the burden of expectation. A crime novel where the crime is only the catalyst for an exploration of a family's unraveling. You Will Know Me is Abbott at her very best.
This unrelenting portrait of the greedy squandering of our precious natural resources is both a beautiful excursion into the heart of human darkness and a brutal story that squarely combats the myth of the West. A forerunner of Cormac McCarty, this is an underappareciated great that clamors for a wider audience.
The Lonely City is equal parts a memoir of moving solo to the big city and a criticism of visual artists (Darger, Hopper, Warhol) who prominantly feature lonliness in their work, this book is an unusual hybrid that totally works. My favorite book of 2016!
While she is the subject of one of the most famous paintings of the 20th century, little is known about Christina Olson. This novel imagines her life hobbled by illness and familial obligation and how becoming an unwitting muse allowed her a freedom real life denied her.
I can't think of a more evocative narrative muse than Edward Hopper. Apparently Lawrence Block feels the same because he asked a diverse group of author friends (Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates and more) to pick a painting and write a story about it. This carefully curated collection features ensnaring tales from all genres and is so strong it's hard to pick a favorite. With its full color plates, this would make a lovely gift for fan of Hopper's broody genius or anyone intruiged by the intersection of artistic mediums.
In this sometimes pointed but always charming essay collection, fashioned in the style of a medieval bestiary, Passarello tells the stories of famous animals including Koko, the sign language gorilla, and Arabella, the spider who went to space. This beautiful edition, published by Louisville's own Sarabande Books, is a treat for both animal lovers and any reader with a curious mind.