Debut Books

The Vine That Ate the South – J.D. Wilkes

THE VINE THAT ATE THE SOUTH is more conversion narrative than odyssey, and more tall tale than either, filled with a twisty, tongue-in-cheek lyricism that calls to mind a Weird Twain.

The Great American Songbook – Sam Allingham

What Allingham shows is that songs are most effective when their writers embrace the limitations their medium presents, and cannily exploit these to draw attention to their project’s artifice.

Imagine Wanting Only This – Kristen Radtke

Part of what had excited me was something that doesn’t usually make for compelling criticism, that is, I had found IMAGINE WANTING ONLY THIS to be relatable.

Lucky You – Erika Carter

Carter succeeds in creating a lush but airless environment in which the anxieties of “adulting” — finding direction, meaning, maintaining a home — are amplified to crippling effect.

The Babysitter at Rest – Jen George

George takes us close to the absurdism of Donald Barthelme, but also the blurred distinctions between realism and science fiction that can be found in the work of Doris Lessing.

WoO – Renee Angle

It’s not the truth behind the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that’s important here. What’s important are the bodies, the violence, the people that are at stake in this truth.

I’ve Got a Time Bomb – Sybil Lamb

In the absence of any kind of fair political structure and the resources to establish successful radical communities, we rely on who and what we can, hoping that small groups, friends, and lovers can sop some of the ache gushing out of our collective political void.

White Elephant – Mako Idemitsu

It’s Japanese, obviously, but, this character is too close. Too much home. Too much — ugh, if I say she’s too much like me I’ll sound like I don’t know how to read books.

Restless Continent – Aja Couchois Duncan

The speaker, a person split between Ojibwe and European lineages, is uninterested in narratives that paint the colonization of the North American continent as a sentimental tale of innocence lost and civilization found. How would the earth remember?

Three New Story Collections, Five Ways

Mainly I want you to finish the review thinking things like, Hm, maybe I should read that book, or Maybe I won’t read it, but at least I have a clear sense of it! (And, most important of all, Wow, that guy knows a lot about the New York Mets!)