Books by Toby Olson

Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"The bottom line: too much going on, too many coincidences to allow either the mystery or the search for deeper meaning to become credible."
An unsolved murder pulls together the varied threads of a story that relies heavily on coincidence in reuniting a father with his teenaged daughter, and a brother with his Siamese twin, while also self-consciously exploring memory and identity. Read full book review >
AT SEA by Toby Olson
Released: May 1, 1993

"Instead of dragging down Olson's imagination, the formulaic conventions actually provide backbone for this pipe-dream of a cop story."
Olson's feverish novels (Utah, 1987, etc.) have always leaned toward menace, and it's not surprising to see him try his hand at a true-blue detective story. Read full book review >
Released: March 1, 1990

"Fascinating but flawed."
Never diffident, Olson (Utah, 1987; The Woman Who Escaped from Shame, 1986; etc.) again boldly mixes philosophy, art theory, and a good bit on the aesthetics of landscape gardeners with a story that more often than not reads like a thriller. Read full book review >
UTAH by Toby Olson
Released: June 3, 1987

"Beneath it all, though, it's fiction lite-style, with precious little that's original or meaningful."
Olson's outlandish novels (Seaview, The Woman Who Escaped from Shame) are, at their best moments, balanced with a risky imagination that can send a reader beyond incredulity and into fascination. Read full book review >
Released: May 12, 1986

"Is Olson one of our best unreadable writers?"
As he showed in Seaview (1982), Olson's mythic intensities can sometimes propel him beyond the most treacherous shoals of narrative foul-ups: plots that don't plot, turgid and repetitious accumulations of thematic touchstones, stilted dialogue, and incredible incidents—and bring him instead to some powerful if lurid imaginative constructions (a lot of this work reminds you of those tourist paintings on velvet). Read full book review >
SEAVIEW by Toby Olson
Released: March 1, 1982

"Unfortunately, however, the disastrous overload of the rest—with Olson attempting to put Indians, cancer, golf, and drugs in one lumpy narrative package—means that only intrepid, boredom-tolerant readers will come upon the genuinely fine moments here."
Though certainly a failure—ponderous, unpaced, lurching, implausible—poet Olson's second work of fiction (The Life of Jesus was his first) nonetheless has about it an imagistic, visionary hunger that's striking, that sets it apart. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 1, 1976

"A myth of initiation, then—intimate, truly touching, original."
I think there is one thing we hold in common," the narrator of this surrealist myth begins, "in our secret hearts, we each believe we were born of a virgin. . . . Read full book review >