Category Archives: Fiction

Cruel, Beautiful World

So this book is an emotional journey. There was a point near the end when I thought I’d have to throw it out the window in a rage, which would have been a shame, since I was reading it on … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction | 4 Comments

Mister Monkey

Mister Monkey is a terrible musical based on an inexplicably beloved children’s book. And the production at the center of this novel by Francine Prose is particularly bad. But the cast and crew try: They are in this together, everyone is … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction | 6 Comments

Black Wave

The first half of Black Wave by Michelle Tea is boring—very well-written, but tedious. The main character, Michelle, spends most of it drinking and doing drugs and hooking up with different women in late 90s San Francisco. She’s drifting along, sort of … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 5 Comments

Sweet Lamb of Heaven

When Anna’s daughter, Lena, was born, Anna started hearing voices. They weren’t telling her anything in particular or even necessarily speaking to her. It was just ambient noise that no one else seemed to be able to hear. And when … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 4 Comments

Version Control

I’ve started and set aside several books in the last couple of weeks in what was starting to seem like a futile quest for a really good story. I very nearly decided to give up my intention to read as … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Speculative Fiction | 8 Comments

Grief is the Thing with Feathers

A man and his two sons are grieving the loss of his wife (and their mother) when a crow turns up, promising to stay until he wasn’t needed anymore. The crow observes the family, and the family tries to come … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Poetry | 11 Comments

Lanterns Across the Snow

If you’re like me, you associate Susan Hill with Gothic spookiness (The Woman in Black) and/or murder (her series of Simon Serrailler mysteries.) Lanterns Across the Snow is neither one nor the other, though her usual predilections peek out in … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction | 5 Comments


It’s often easiest to review books when they stay inside generic boundaries, and the smaller the box, the better. This is a cozy mystery, this is a thriller, this is a western. If you like what goes in this box, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Mysteries, Religion, Speculative Fiction | 2 Comments


I find it difficult to describe the experience of reading the short fiction of Alice Munro. Usually, I like my short stories to be a little bit weird and experimental — to play with form, the way George Saunders does, … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Short Stories/Essays | 8 Comments

Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death

A couple of years ago, I watched the Grantchester mysteries on PBS Masterpiece. I enjoyed them thoroughly (I would enjoy anything with Robson Green in it!) and didn’t think much more about it. But when I discovered that the show … Continue reading

Posted in Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mysteries | 10 Comments