Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1809)

SECRET ADMIRER by Patricia MacDonald
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 10, 1995

"MacDonald lacks Clark's intuitively sure sense of just how far to push each subplot, but she and her bogeyman still deliver plenty of genuine, if synthetic, thrills."
Five months after Laura Reed's husband Jimmy is shot dead by an intruder, and eight days after Laura's whirlwind courtship ends in marriage to physicist/adventurer Ian Turner, the death of a contract killer hundreds of miles away suddenly persuades the Cape Christian, New Jersey, police to arrest Laura for hiring Jimmy dead. Read full book review >
THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN by Thomas Mann
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 10, 1995

"For all that, it's important to have a contemporary updating of a classic novel, and for its clarity and syntactical vigor alone, Woods' new translation may be considered an impressive success."
A new translation of Mann's great 1924 novel, long acclaimed as a masterly synthesis of the intellectual history of early 20th-century Europe and for its prescient scrutiny of elements in the German national character that had, and would again, find expression in the calamitous form of the world war. Read full book review >

RL'S DREAM by Walter Mosley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 7, 1995

"About what you'd expect if Flannery O'Connor had had the time to expand 'Judgment Day' to novel length: as dark and rich as the Easy Rawlins stories, but without the persistent lure of Easy's search for the truth."
Mosley's Easy Rawlins mysteries (Black Betty, 1994, etc.) always seemed to be moving away from tightly plotted whodunits toward his trademark high-energy riffs, and here he makes his move to the mainstream with a hazy, tender tale of a dying bluesman taken in by a hard-bitten urban survivalist. Read full book review >
MAIJA by
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 7, 1995

"A welcome insight into Finnish culture, with plentiful shared warmth and feelingthough uniformly simple and flawless characters keep it in the most minor of minor keys."
A first novel that lovingly evokes warm family ties and essential niceness but doesn't much move the reader as it chronicles the life of a quiet, good woman. Read full book review >
GAIA'S TOYS by Rebecca Ore
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

"Plausibly edgy and cynical, and often absorbing, but with insufficient plot and too thin a backdrop to be fully satisfying; the incongruous combination of first- and third-person narratives also doesn't help."
Dystopian, cyberpunkish, near-future paranoia from the author of Slow Funeral (1994). Read full book review >

WHERE LOVE GOES by Joyce Maynard
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

"Older and wiser: Maynard's best yet. (First serial to Good Housekeeping and Redbook; Literary Guild alternate selection; author tour)"
Maynard, long proclaimed by the media to be the spokesperson for the baby-boomer generation, may have finally grown into that role herein a novel about divorce, love, and raising children that hits home harder than anything she's pitched at us before (To Die For, 1992, etc.). Read full book review >
WHAT THE HEART KNOWS by William W. Johnstone
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

"A sentimental wannabe Bridges of Madison County, strictly for the romance crowd."
A second hardcover from veteran western writer Johnstone (after Talons of Eagles, 1995, not reviewed)this one with a bad case of Robert James Waller envysends a 40-year-old ex-Marine back to his native Georgia to fall in love with a 20-year-old waif. Read full book review >
SCHOOM by Jonathan Wilson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

"Intriguing work from a talented newcomer whose tales of alienation and exile ring familiar and true. (Author tour)"
A thematically and geographically varied first collection from the author of a simultaneously published, and essentially similar, first novel (see above). Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

"Any reader who cares about short work in these two genres will here find a rich sample of the best."
Datlow and Windling's definitive collection of short fantasy and horror fiction enters its eighth year (1994) with a veritable feast of stories, poems, and commentary on the genres they cover: 53 pieces in all. Read full book review >
SLOW RIVER by Nicola Griffith
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

"Despite irritating switches in narrative tense and viewpoint, her grim near-future is persuasive."
When Lore, scion of the rich and powerful Van Oesterling family, is kidnapped, her family refuses to pay the ransom. Read full book review >
ROOKERY BLUES by Jon Hassler
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

"This may not be Lucky Jim, but it's worthy to be mentioned in the same breath. (First printing of 40,000)"
The eighth novel from the author of the endearing Staggerford series (Dear James, 1993, etc.): a delight about five faculty members who in 1969 start a jazz group at their small Minnesota state college. Read full book review >
THE HIDING ROOM by Jonathan Wilson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Aug. 1, 1995

"Though its climax and denouement too closely recall the savage resolution of Paul Bowles's classic The Sheltering Sky, Wilson's debut does exhibit specific individual strengths, as well as an original visionof the tragedy of war as a chaos of missed connections. (Author tour)"
An intense and frequently dramatic first novelthe work (also see below) of an English-born American writer who formerly lived in the Middle Eastskillfully counterpoints the stories of two emotional quests undertaken a half-century apart. 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 >