Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1759)

DEATH COMES AS EPIPHANY by Sharan Newman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"Like the author's Guinevere trilogy (Guinevere Evermore, 1985, etc.), this offers a most likable heroine who wears well in the stretch."
Medieval mystery and murder, travel and travail, in 1139 France—as a spunky, sensible, determined novice nun joins forces with a sculptor's apprentice to uncover some evil doings. Read full book review >
HOW I CAME WEST, AND WHY I STAYED by Alison Baker
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"Other pieces here are shapeless or cutesy, but the best are luminous with verbal play and intimations of how ordinary strangeness can be. (Some have appeared in Atlantic, the Best of the West, New Stories from the South and various lit mags.)"
A first collection of stories with great first lines, usually followed by fictions as light as air—some antic or absurd, others delicate or touching. Read full book review >

FULL-BODIED RED by Bruce Zimmerman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"Quinn is as good company as ever: it's a pleasure running one step ahead of him all the way to the final payoff."
Bad news for Bay Area phobia therapist Quinn Parker (Blood Under the Bridge, 1989; Thicker Than Water, 1991): his agoraphobic client Phillip Chesterton, winery heir, has vanished; Phillip's bearish stepfather Frank Matson is convinced Quinn knows where he is; and the morning after Quinn and Matson duke it out, Matson disappears himself and the police take on the job of suspecting Quinn. Read full book review >
THE FORMS OF WATER by Andrea Barrett
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"Strong currents, clear writing, but a crew of characters that misses the boat."
Barrett (The Middle Kingdom, 1991, etc.) returns with her specialty—a story about the tangled web of a family told in prose that's spun smooth as silk. Read full book review >
NUDE MEN by Amanda Filipacchi
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"Still, an interesting debut."
A young fabulist's highly touted first novel (``already sold in seven countries'') combines the techniques of Thomas McGuane with bits of Lolita and The Picture of Dorian Gray. Read full book review >

FAMILY SECRETS by Nancy Thayer
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"A strong performance and a welcome reprise for Thayer's original audience. (First printing of 50,000)"
Thayer's back in form here with a story about mothers and daughters that will remind fans of her earlier, much-admired Three Women at the Water's Edge (1981)—except that, this time, there's less contemplation by the edge of the water. Read full book review >
BOHANNON'S COUNTRY by Joseph Hansen
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"Not much mystery here, then—these are stories about a detective, his intimates (his traumatized wife Linda, his grizzled buddy George Stubbs, his sometime female companion T. Hodges), and the all-too-human criminals who come across as warmly as their nemesis."
Having concluded his Dave Brandstetter mysteries with A Country of Old Men, Hansen comes up with a second collection of stories featuring Madrone, California, ex-sheriff Hack Bohannon (following Bohannon's Book, 1988)—the title of which is especially apt, since Hack makes only a cameo appearance in one of the five stories and never turns up in a second at all. Read full book review >
STONE BOY by Ronald Levitsky
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"One skeleton too many in the Bear Coat closet and an overextended finale keep this out of the class of Rosen's first two cases—but nobody rivals Levitsky's ability to get you to care about people who turn out to be weaker, greedier, and sadder than you ever imagined."
The murder of rancher Albert Gates shortly after he paid Will True Sky $500 for a sacred medicine bag that the Lakota man had found on Gates's land brings civil-rights lawyer Nate Rosen (The Love That Kills, The Wisdom of Serpents) to Bear Coat, South Dakota, where he finds Will's family—especially his stubborn father Saul True Sky and his half-breed sister Grace Jenkins—locked in a feud with Gates's widow Belle and the town fathers, who want to confiscate a piece of land Saul owns in order to open an Old West theme park in neighboring Tin Town. Read full book review >
BEAM ME UP, SCOTTY by Michael Guinzburg
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"Crack City'' is well-observed, but these elements can't support an ultimately slight tale."
Fast-moving, extremely broad satire of 12-Step programs and New York's downtown drug scene; glimmers of cleverness are lost amidst over-the-top violence and constant recourse to the ``silly name'' school of humor. Read full book review >
A TRAITOR'S DAUGHTER by Anna Lorme
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"A relentlessly dark litany of miseries—unrelieved by even the most fleeting lightness—whose impact is undercut by a stilted translation."
An autobiographical novel, first published in France, searingly re-creates one of the darkest periods in Russian history as it tells the story of young Anna—a descendant of intellectuals and nobles who had sided with the Bolsheviks. Read full book review >
ALLENDE by Fernando Alegría
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"Not so."
A revised version (and first US appearance) of a work originally published in Spanish in 1989. Read full book review >
SPIDERTOWN by Jr. Rodriguez
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: June 1, 1993

"Despite the slack plotting: a piercing and unforgettable cry from the heart of crack-hell."
Undisciplined, weakly plotted first novel—about a young drug- runner who wants out—that offers the most visceral portrait of crack-curdled inner-city life since Richard Price's Clockers, and likely the most authentic ever: Rodriguez is a native of the South Bronx, which he also brought to vividly garish life in the collection The Boy Without a Flag. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Luis Alberto Urrea
April 21, 2015

Examining the borders between one nation and another, between one person and another, Luis Alberto Urrea’s latest story collection, The Water Museum, reveals his mastery of the short form. This collection includes the Edgar-award winning "Amapola" and his now-classic "Bid Farewell to Her Many Horses," which had the honor of being chosen for NPR's "Selected Shorts" not once but twice. Urrea has also recently published a poetry collection, Tijuana Book of the Dead, mixing lyricism and colloquial voices, mysticism and the daily grind. We talk to Urrea about both of his new books this week on Kirkus TV. View video >