Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1759)

EMPIRE UNDER GLASS by Julian Anderson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Despite its breach in continuity, Anderson's first fiction nevertheless offers a likable assemblage of characters—and we do end up caring about Viola's fate."
A somewhat clichÇd approach to storytelling—a retirement home resident relates her life story—offers mixed results, thanks in part to a huge gap left in the narrative. Read full book review >
BLUESTOWN by Geoffrey Becker
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"A superlative debut, from a writer of very great promise. (Author tour)"
A marvelous first novel about growing up confused and trying to adjust to the imperfections of people who are supposed to know better (like your parents), from the author of the story collection Dangerous Men (1995—not reviewed). Read full book review >

TURNAWAY by Jesse Browner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"His second, more meditative, is nonetheless a powerful, ingenious work, further evidence that a writer of considerable talent has emerged."
A somber fable that offers a disturbing and persuasive portrait of the corrosive anomie of modern life as its effects are reflected in two very different people. Read full book review >
BIG PICTURE by Percival Everett
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Vignettes nicely crafted, and eminently readable, but none worthy of superlatives."
Painters' lives of quiet desperation, rickety Rocky Mountain relationships, and the unending difficulties faced by black men in white America make up the bulk of these nine stories (three previously published), as Everett (see below; God's Country, 1994, etc.) returns to familiar themes with his usual subtlety and eccentric comic flourishes. Read full book review >
WATERSHED by Percival Everett
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Some nice touches of humor and essential humanity, but the ground covered here has few breathtaking vistas—and the main character's low-key transformation fails to stir otherwise oddly tranquil waters."
America's oppressed minorities join forces in this watered- down rehash of Black Panther/American Indian Movement activities- -updated to include an image of the sensitive male—from University of California writing prof Everett (see above). Read full book review >

AN EXPERIMENT IN LOVE by Hilary Mantel
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Still, without some conclusive image, we're left guessing about the greater meanings behind this grim, profoundly moving work."
An angry novel by Mantel (A Place of Greater Safety, 1993, etc.), offers a powerful, but incomplete, portrait of a young woman driving herself toward destruction. Read full book review >
YOU ALONE ARE DANCING by Brenda Flanagan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

You Alone Are Dancing ($13.95 paperback original; May 1996; 200 pp.; 0-472-06627-7). Read full book review >
AMONG THE GINZBURGS by Ellen Pall
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"An entertaining group character study, then, and a promising advance on Back East."
A prodigal father returns home to die in this engaging tale of a dysfunctional New York family trying to heal itself—the latest by this writer for The Village Voice and The New Yorker and author of Back East (1983). Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"Strong stories, a startling variety of voices, and some very precise meditations on the nature of modern motherhood combine to create a unique, useful, moving anthology."
``I could feel my life changing, the old familiar parts of it crumbling away and a new shape emerging.'' The narrator of Mary Grimm's ``Before,'' reflecting on her emotions as she is being wheeled into a delivery room, sounds a note repeated, with some artful variations, in many of the reprinted tales in this diverse collection: Motherhood changes everything. Read full book review >
THE STUNTMAN'S DAUGHTER by Alice Blanchard
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

The Stuntman's Daughter ($14.95 paperback original; May 1, 1996; 157 pp.; 1-57441-009-1). Read full book review >
TUMBLING by Diane McKinney-Whetstone
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"A gifted prose writer with a tremendous sense of place, McKinney-Whetstone shows the potential here to move up the ranks of novelists currently exploring the African-American experience. (Author tour)"
A bouncy, moody, musical—if improbable—debut by an author who, like a good blues singer, is strong on style and interpretation even while covering familiar material. Read full book review >
HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK by Terry McMillan
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1996

"One hopes McMillan will follow her heroine's example and slow down a little on her next book. (First printing of 750,000; serial rights to People and Essence; Book-of-the-Month Club main selection; author tour)"
McMillan (Waiting to Exhale, 1992, etc.) takes it easy with this tossed-together tale of a 42-year-old black, female professional who falls for a young Jamaican cook. 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 >