Book Review: The Yard

The Yard: A Novel by Alex Grecian (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2012. 421 pp) Alex Grecian is the author of the long-running and critically acclaimed graphic novel series Proof. The Yard is his first novel. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from G.P. Putnam’s Sons. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Victorian Murders “Nobody noticed when Inspector Christian Little of Scotland Yard disappeared, and nobody was looking for him when he was found” (1). The year is 1889, and a… Read More →

Book Review: Cain

Cain: A Novel by José Saramago; translated by Margaret Jull Costa (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011. 176 pp) José Saramago was a Nobel Prize-winning author from Portugal. He passed away at the age of 87 on June 18, 2010. Although Saramago did not receive widespread recognition until he was 60 years old, he has been highly prolific in the years since. Blindness, one of Saramago’s most highly regarded books was made into a major motion picture in 2008. He is survived by his wife Pilar Del Rio and a daughter from a previous marriage. Margaret Jull Costa translates Portuguese and Spanish fiction and poetry. For her work she has won the Portuguese Translation Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award,… Read More →

Book Group: In Cold Blood

In Cold Blood: A True Account of a Multiple Murder and Its Consequences by Truman Capote (New York: Random House, 2007; originally published in 1965. 343 pp) A Brief Recap “Mister Clutter was amused. ‘I’m not as poor as I look. Go ahead, get all you can,’ he said. Then, touching the brim of his cap, he headed for home and the day’s work, unaware that it would be his last.” (13). Reading like a precursor to one of the many CSI crime television series, the quote above summarizes the feel of In Cold Blood incredibly well, a novel where both innocence and brutality collide, where beauty meets tragedy. In Cold Blood highlights the grisly murders of the Clutter Family… Read More →

Book Review: The Hypnotist

The Hypnotist: A Novel by Lars Kepler; translated by Ann Long (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011. 528 pp) Lars Kepler is the pseudonym for the husband and wife team of Alexandra and Alexander Ahndoril, and The Hypnotist is their first novel. The couple has written three Lars Kepler books, The Hypnotist (2009), The Paganini Contract (2010), and The Nightmare (July 2012). Alexander Ahndoril’s previous novel, Regissören, about the film maker Ingmar Bergman received wide critical acclaim. His latest book Diplomaten (2010), deals with the Swedish diplomat Hans Blix. Alexandra Ahndoril has previously published three books: Stjärneborg about astronomer Tycho Brahe; Birgitta och Katarina about Holly Birgitta; and Mäster about August Palm. Married in 1996, the couple has three… Read More →

Book Group: My Name is Red

My Name Is Red by Orhan Pamuk; translated by Erdaǧ Göknar (New York: Knopf, 2001. 536 pp) Set in Istanbul during the Ottoman Empire, My Name Is Red functions as a murder mystery at its core. In its simplest construction, the plot of this novel seeks to find out who-done-it. Yet, the strength of this prize-winning story lies not in its plot but in its poetic language and descriptive setting. The main characters frequent the miniaturist scene painting illustrations for the Sultan. With a recent commission from the sovereign causing uproar, a murder occurs and the victim’s associates become the most likely suspects. Andrew: This novel has an intriguing narrative structure. How do you feel that impacted the novel as… Read More →

Television Show Review: Dexter: Season 6

Dexter: Season 6 developed by James Manos, Jr. (Showtime Networks, John Goldwyn Productions, The Colleton Company) Starring Michael C. Hall, Jennifer Carpenter, Lauren Vélez, David Zayas, James Remar, and C.S. Lee. I Might Be an Anglophile Without intentionally positioning myself as an anglophile, I appreciate the reserve under which English television operates. No matter how massive the hit, English writers and producers understand that quality trumps quantity. As such, these television professionals would rather sacrifice paychecks than integrity. Not so in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Case in point, the best episodes of Showtime’s hit series, Dexter, exist in its rear-view mirror. With Season 6, the viewer continues on a plot development holding pattern. The setting remains the same—a… Read More →

Book Review: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union: A Novel by Michael Chabon (New York: HarperCollins, 2007. 464 pp) One of the most celebrated writers of his generation according to The Virginia Quarterly Review, Michael Chabonwas born in Washington D.C. He earned his B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and his M.F.A from the University of California, Irvine. Chabon published his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, from his master’s thesis at the age of 25. His third novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union won Chabon the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award. He is married to poet Lollie Groth. Sitka: In Memoriam A calm morning toward the end of an Alaska cruise,… Read More →

Book Review: The Fates Will Find Their Way

The Fates Will Find Their Way: A Novel by Hannah Pittard (New York: Ecco Publishing, 2011. 256 pp) Hannah Pittard’s fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, the Oxford American, the Mississippi Review, BOMB, Nimrod, and StoryQuarterly, and was included in 2008 Best American Short Stories’ 100 Distinguished Stories. She is the recipient of the 2006 Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award and has taught fiction at the University of DePaul and the University of Virginia, where she was also a Henry Hoyns Fellow. Telephone! It begins as early as preschool with children congregating in a circle. The teacher kneels and whispers information to a girl urging her to motion it onward to her neighbor’s ear. As the children intake, comprehend, and transfer information, the… Read More →