Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1809)

THE PASSION DREAM BOOK by Whitney Otto
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 7, 1997

"Better as a grand tour than as a celebration of art and love. ($75,000 ad/promo; author tour)"
Otto (Now You See Her, 1994, etc.) follows a pair of lovers as they migrate through several of the 20th-century's most exotic artistic movements. Read full book review >
TUMBLE HOME by Amy Hempel
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 7, 1997

"Tales much like the poetry Hempel quotes: imagistic with no emotional or aesthetic heft, nor even a particular sensitivity to language."
Hempel's third volume of precious miniatures (At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, 1990, etc.) includes a novella that reads like an inflated version of its short, fragile companion pieces, one no more than a paragraph long. Read full book review >

THE LIGHT OF COMMON DAY by John Herman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 6, 1997

"Even working against the pitfalls of a wildly overused genre, he's able to bring in light, color, feeling, and life."
Second-novelist Herman (The Weight of Love, 1995) chooses a genre—adolescent coming of age—that as book editor he must have seen in an excess beyond measure. Read full book review >
BEFORE I WAKE by Eric Bowman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 1997

"Top-drawer entertainment for devotees of the dangerous-games genre."
In an effective stalker shocker from the pseudonymous Bowman, a New York City cop helps out a homicidal author who's committing the very murders the cop is trying to solve—and it's anyone's guess as to who'll be the last man left alive. Read full book review >
THE EMPIRE OF KALMAN THE CRIPPLE by Yehuda Elberg
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 1997

"Once again (see above), Elberg tacks an anticlimactic moralizing finale onto a story that is otherwise a triumph."
The Empire Of Kalman The Cripple ($26.95; May 5, 1997; 330 pp.; 0- 8156-0448-3): A later (1983) novel set in a Polish shtetl on the eve of the Second World War, this is a masterly character study of an embittered, crafty shopkeeper who by sheer force of will transforms himself from ``a thief and a lecher . . . [into] an upstanding citizen and a philanthropist.'' Both Kalman's Balzacian appetite for life and his forebears' frustrated struggles for security are explored in convincing depth in a many-leveled narrative that accomplishes the difficult feat of eliciting our compassionate empathy with its disagreeable antihero. Read full book review >

BUSTED SCOTCH by James Kelman
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 1997

"Giving a crisp measure of the author's vision, these are tales that further demonstrate Kelman's angry, distinctive voice and his unsettling vision of modern life. (The Great Scots Reading Tour with Irvine Welsh, Duncan McLean, and James Kelman)"
Capitalizing on his 1995 Booker novel, How late it was, how late, Kelman offers this compendium of 35 stories—10 culled from his only other collection to have appeared here (Greyhound for Breakfast, 1988)—portraying the down-and-out of Scottish society. Read full book review >
BUNKER MAN by Duncan McLean
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 1997

"While the acts of rage here are powerful and palpable, the motivations behind them are damningly obscure, and so flawed a foundation reduces the wholel to a tabloid tale—excessive, unpalatable, and confusing. (The Great Scots Reading Tour with Irvine Welsh, Duncan McLean, and James Kelman)"
The same deep-seated anger that fueled his award-winning debut story collection, Bucket Of Tongues (1994), also burns hot in Scottish writer McLean's first novel to appear here. Read full book review >
GLIMMER by Annie Waters
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 1997

"A valuable look at the sometimes painful experience of confronting the ideologies now swirling around college campuses, but Waters's characters unfortunately remain more sketched-in than real, making for a story that is frustratingly unsatisfying."
Responding to pressures that urge her to define herself racially, sexually, and every other way, a college freshman barricades herself in her dorm room: a sometimes affecting, often awkward depiction of the ways in which passing political fashions can have lasting and devastating personal effects. Read full book review >
SOUL KISS by Shay Youngblood
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 5, 1997

"Some didactic interludes intrude on an otherwise straightforward story of erotic confusion. (Book-of-the-Month alternate selection)"
This first novel by playwright and storywriter Youngblood (The Big Mama Stories, 1989) is a young girl's tale of sadness and longing. Read full book review >
THE RANCH by Danielle Steel
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1997

"Her mannered style, however, has begun to tilt toward caricature."
Predictable Steel (Silent Honor, 1996, etc.)—competent but uninspired—as three fortysomething women find romance, love, friendship, and hope (they already have the wardrobe) at an expensive dude ranch in Wyoming. Read full book review >
PIG TALES by Marie Darrieussecq
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1997

"But there's not much novel here beyond the intriguing premise: It's a one-joke book."
Pig Tales ($18.00; May 1997; 160 pp.; 1-56584-361-4): A major critical and popular success in France (``currently selling over 3,000 copies a day''), this thin Kafkaesque parable describes the gradual transformation of a young woman who works in a beauty parlor into a pig who sagely comments on her country's bland drift toward conservatism. Read full book review >
BY SALT WATER by Angela Bourke
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: May 1, 1997

"More brief slices of life than well-rounded stories, but, still, these tales leave the reader dreaming of chilly coastal winters and warm cups of tea."
Seventeen engaging tales of love, loss, and redemption with a charming Irish lilt, in a first collection by the 1992 winner of the Frank O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Morgan Matson
July 25, 2016

The Unexpected Everything is a YA feel-good story of friendship, finding yourself, and all the joys in life that happen while you’re busy making other plans. Andie has a plan. And she always sticks to her plan. Future? A top-tier medical school. Dad? Avoid him as much as possible (which isn’t that hard considering he’s a Congressman and he’s never around). Friends? Palmer, Bri, and Toby—pretty much the most awesome people on the planet, who needs anyone else? Relationships? No one’s worth more than three weeks. So it’s no surprise that Andie’s got her summer all planned out too. Until a political scandal costs Andie her summer pre-med internship, and lands both she and Dad back in the same house together for the first time in years. Suddenly she’s doing things that aren’t Andie at all. “Romance fans will find plenty to enjoy, as Andie gradually lets down her guard and risks the messy and unpredictable wonder of first love,” our reviewer writes. “A novel best read on a lazy summer day with sand between the toes.” View video >