Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1756)

JANE AND THE UNPLEASANTNESS AT SCARGRAVE MANOR by Stephanie Barron
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"The author has set herself a Herculean task that happily succeeds on all levels: a robust tale of manners and mayhem that faithfully reproduces the Austen style—and engrosses to the finish. (Author tour)"
At the end of a Jane Austen revival season comes this first novel purporting to be an Austen manuscript found in the cellar of a remote American branch of the Austen family. Read full book review >
LADY WITH A LAPTOP by D.M. Thomas
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"A near-miss."
Thomas (Pictures at an Exhibition, 1993; Eating Pavlova, 1994, etc.) treats us to another trashy feast of cheap sensation and obvious sentiment, in the course of which—imperceptibly at first and against every expectation—he nearly manages to extract the rabbit from his hat. Read full book review >

TWELVE GOLDEN THREADS by Aliske Webb
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"The literary equivalent of a dose of castor oil, this plodding self-helper reads more like a bad sermon than real fiction. (Literary Guild alternate selection; $200,000 ad/promo; author tour; TV satellite tour)"
A How To Make an American Quilt wannabe that has already sold 25,000 copies in a self-published (1992) edition. Read full book review >
NONE SO BLIND by Joe Haldeman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Haldeman, while always an agreeable host, is at his best when his attention is fully engaged—Hemingway, Vietnam, alienation—and when he allows his own hopes and fears to communicate to the reader."
Another story collection from Haldeman (Dealing in Futures, 1985, etc.), this one comprising 11 tales, 1986-94, and four ``story poems.'' Pride of place goes to the Hugo and Nebula-winning novella, ``The Hemingway Hoax,'' of which the 1990 Kirkus review of the novel version declared: ``Literary games and multidimensional meddling. . .so strong are Haldeman's warmth and charm, so deep his knowledge and love of Hemingway, that all this hanky-panky remains enjoyable even at its most improbable.'' Also impressive are the Hugo award-winning title piece, about genius, unlikely lovers, and rewiring the human brain; and ``Graves,'' a Vietnam horror yarn that won both a Nebula and a World Fantasy award. Read full book review >
THE PENGUIN BOOK OF EROTIC STORIES BY WOMEN by Richard Glyn  Jones
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"A nicely balanced collection of provocative versions of desire."
The poet Adrienne Rich's definition of the erotic, cited in the Introduction to this remarkably diverse anthology, sums up the thread that ties these works together. Read full book review >

CYCLE OF VIOLENCE by Colin Bateman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"But Bateman and his hero both pay a high price for the few sweet, funny moments they wring out of this vale of tears."
Exiled to darkest Crossmaheart after a spectacular drunk, Miller, a Belfast reporter who has his own weekly column but keeps his first name secret, falls in with waitress Marie Young, falls in love with her, falls into her bed. Read full book review >
COCK OF THE WALK by Roy Lewis
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"British journalist Lewis (The Evolution Man, 1993), tells a story that has echoes in contemporary power politics and media hype—and tells it with considerable charm."
A lighthearted historical novel, illustrated by Punch cartoons, that's essentially a gently satirical catalogue of every major character ever heard from in Victorian England. Read full book review >
AND THE ANGELS SING by J. Madison Davis
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Best to treat Davis's fifth novel (Red Knight, 1992, etc.) as a fabulously sooty tapestry of wartime nostalgia with its sour hero and multiple felonies as a bonus."
Eighteen months ago, in the world before Pearl Harbor, Carl Carlson was reaching for the brass ring. Read full book review >
BABEL TOWER by A.S. Byatt
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Not Byatt's best."
An ambitious, intelligent work that, while aiming to get Britain's swinging '60s down pat, unfortunately scants the usual fictional elements, putting in their place a mordant and always perceptive historical critique. Read full book review >
BUCKING THE SUN by Ivan Doig
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Doig's real achievement is to chronicle—with empathy and precise, lyrical authority, down to the last load of gravel hauled in a sturdy Ford truck—the magnificent Fort Peck project and the desperate times out of which it arose."
The sprawling tale that Doig, author of the Montana trilogy (English Creek, 1984; Dancing at the Rascal Fair, 1987; and Ride with Me, Moriah Montana, 1990), has been working on for years. Read full book review >
AMNESIASCOPE by Steve Erickson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Or perhaps it's just the competition provided by an increasingly surreal America."
The resident surrealist of L.A. (Arch D`X, 1993, etc.) uncorks a magnum of post-apocalyptic champagne: a long New Year's Eve of the Soul (sex, drugs, paranoia) that turns into a rather flat confessional about the life of a writer who bears more than a passing resemblance to the author himself. Read full book review >
THE WORLD AT NIGHT by Alan Furst
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Nobody does it better."
The throes of masculine existential torment are an unquestionable specialty for Furst (The Polish Officer, 1995), whose WW II fiction combines so much broad historical erudition with such genuine humanity that they ought to be made required reading. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Michael Eric Dyson
February 2, 2016

In Michael Eric Dyson’s rich and nuanced book new book, The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, Dyson writes with passion and understanding about Barack Obama’s “sad and disappointing” performance regarding race and black concerns in his two terms in office. While race has defined his tenure, Obama has been “reluctant to take charge” and speak out candidly about the nation’s racial woes, determined to remain “not a black leader but a leader who is black.” Dyson cogently examines Obama’s speeches and statements on race, from his first presidential campaign through recent events—e.g., the Ferguson riots and the eulogy for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston—noting that the president is careful not to raise the ire of whites and often chastises blacks for their moral failings. At his best, he spoke with “special urgency for black Americans” during the Ferguson crisis and was “at his blackest,” breaking free of constraints, in his “Amazing Grace” Charleston eulogy. Dyson writes here as a realistic, sometimes-angry supporter of the president. View video >