Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1823)

VARIABLE CLOUD by Carmen Martín Gaite
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 18, 1996

"This ambitious 1992 novel from one of Spain's leading writers (now translated into English for the first time) was a major success in Gaite's homeland, but may find a relatively lukewarm response in a culture where feisty criticisms of lamebrained machismo are not a novelty."
Variable Cloud ($24.00; Jul. 18, 1996; 374 pp.; 1-86046-061-5): A chronicle of female friendship, expressed largely through an exhaustive exchange of letters between two women who resume their long-dormant intimacy when each must grapple with the demons of middle age and unravelling relationships. Read full book review >
THE SHOW-ME STATE by Lloyd Rees
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 17, 1996

"It isn't bad when Rees keeps his tongue in his cheek, but he undercuts his poor professor so severely it's hard to care about him, and, unlike Greene's, Rees's contempt for America is neither veiled nor well-informed."
British import about a wimpy English professor, Arthur Noone, on sabbatical at a regional university in Missouri. Read full book review >

I'M LOSING YOU by Bruce Wagner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 17, 1996

"Much smarter than the recent bunch of novels and movies on Hollywood, and much more believable for its very lack of a narrative hook."
Screenwriter Wagner's second well-done Hollywood novel (Force Majeure, 1991) surveys the mostly sordid L.A. scene from top to bottom, making up for a lack of dramatic focus with lots of hypergossipy vignettes of hustling, deviance, New Age goofiness, and consumer lust—and that's just among the successful. Read full book review >
ROSEHAVEN by Catherine Coulter
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 16, 1996

"Standard bawdy fare, Coulter-style, though the violence may offend the growing number of romance readers who are dissatisfied with rape in any form."
To her usual successful mix of romance, humor, and spicy sex talk (think Wife of Bath with a pinch of dominatrix), the author of the Legacy trilogy (The Valentine Legacy, 1995, etc.) adds a rather substantial leavening of Disney-esque animal characters to a story set in 1277 England. Read full book review >
I AM DANGEROUS by Greg Johnson
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 16, 1996

"Exceptionally strong, confident writing from an author who shows his literary roots while gracefully blending ancient anxieties and modern concerns."
A third collection from Johnson (Distant Friends, 1990, etc.) offers 13 tight, knowing, well-told stories. Read full book review >

SYNTHESIS by Mary Rosenblum
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 15, 1996

"Pleasingly crafted work from the author of the paperback The Stone Garden, etc., but with few sharp edges, showing little determination to press ahead into the unknown."
A first collection of nine tales, 199095, all originally published in Asimov's Science Fiction or its predecessor magazine, set against the common near-future backdrop of a hard-driven information society beset by a climatic change that has turned the western US into desert, water being gotten from icebergs towed up from the Antarctic. Read full book review >
NIGHT, AGAIN by Linh Dinh
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 15, 1996

"An important anthology."
Night, Again ($25.00; paper $12.95; Jul. 15, 1996; 176 pp.; 1- 888363-02-9; paper 1-888363-07-X): A welcome collection of 12 stories by Vietnamese writers who are only recently freed from the yoke of censorship (and in some cases imprisonment). Read full book review >
PALINURO OF MEXICO by Fernando del Paso
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 15, 1996

"Demanding, mandarin, occasionally infuriating: the kind of book you're unlikely to finish the same year you begin it, but quite likely to keep dipping into, perhaps over a lifetime."
Palinuro Of Mexico ($14.95 paperback original; Jul. 15, 1996; 557 pp.; 1-56478-095-3): This intimidating Joycean novel, highly acclaimed when originally published (1977) in Spain, then later in its author's native Mexico and throughout Europe, is actually more commonplace-book than fiction: a rhapsodic celebration of the intricacy of the human body and its possibilities, sung (as it were) by del Paso's polymathic protagonist and narrator. Read full book review >
SNOW IN WINTER by Margaret Bacon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 12, 1996

"A quiet tale, with considerable muttering about physical and political change, but with pleasant people who generate a mild interest."
A gently hortatory tale set in England's Yorkshire and various suburbs from the '40s to the '70s, dealing with the progress of two cousins, one domestic and home-loving, the other an energetic career woman. Read full book review >
LOVE, SEX, AND MURDER by Sue Cameron
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 12, 1996

"Entertainment law and the Hollywood power game here fall under the lens of a graphic intelligence that will keep you up like a pot of caffeine."
Stunning improvement over gossip maven Cameron's first novel, Honey Dust (1993), though staying in the same starry venue. Read full book review >
THE DARKENING LEAF by Caroline Stickland
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 12, 1996

"A surprise-free zone with all the twists and turns of a yardstick, but Philobeth and some of the secondary characters (Philobeth's offbeat father, for example, and the wily Mahala) lend a refreshing, original note."
Once again, British writer Stickland (The Standing Hills, 1986, not reviewed) tackles 19th-century Dorset and spunky heroines—in this cookie-cutter (but reasonably likable) tale of love lost and love regained. Read full book review >
GIBBON'S DECLINE AND FALL by Sheri S. Tepper
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 11, 1996

"Imagine The Women's Room invaded by Big Brother: A provocative, devastating, enthralling, consciousness-raiser."
In 1959, seven young women at college become such fast friends that they form the Decline and Fall Club, swearing an oath never to ``decline and fall,'' to remain true to their principles and each other, and to meet every year. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Emma Straub
author of MODERN LOVERS
May 30, 2016

In Emma Straub’s new novel Modern Lovers, friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring. Back in the band’s heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed. “Straub’s characters are a quirky and interesting bunch, well aware of their own good fortune, and it’s a pleasure spending time with them in leafy Ditmas Park,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >