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Literary Fiction Book Reviews

Find below the books we've reviewed in this genre.

Eshkol Nevo’s ‘The Last Interview’ Explores One Writer’s Maneuvering of the Blurred Lines Between Truth and Fiction
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 10th, 2022 2:41 am

The Last Interview, translated from Hebrew by Sondra Silverston, is Eshkol Nevo’s new novel where the main character, a popular Israeli writer, answers questions sent to him by a website editor. Printed in a fitting question/answer format, the questions mostly encompass the basic sort of inquiries that have been posed to authors since the dawn of the craft — where do you get your inspiration? Did you always know you would be a writer? — Nevo cleverly turns what would, otherwise, be just another...

Inès Bayard’s ‘This Little Family’ Depicts One Woman’s Harrowing Descent Into Madness
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 10th, 2022 2:53 am

Inès Bayard holds absolutely nothing back in her debut, This Little Family, translated from French by Adriana Hunter. I can say with confidence that, to date, this is the darkest book I have ever read, and I’ve read my share of dark stories. From the very beginning, we know exactly what’s about to unfold: It’s on the book’s description, and Bayard even starts us off with the inevitable and horrifying end. Her principal characters, Marie, Laurent and their baby, Thomas, will not survive past the...

Through a Filter of Dark Humor, Emily Austin Delves Into the Depths of an Anxious Mind in ‘Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead’
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 10th, 2022 2:58 am

In Emily Austin’s Everyone in This Room Will Someday be Dead, Gilda thinks about death. Every. Single. Instant. Of. Every. Single. Day. And it’s starting to wear on her. Whether she’s at the store, at home, watching a movie with her girlfriend, or celebrating a friend’s birthday, thoughts about death and the meaning of existence plague her compulsively. Emily doesn’t have much of an outlet for these thoughts: her family prefers to sweep personal issues under the rug; her brother is struggling wi...

Connie Palmen Plays Devil’s Advocate by Invoking Ted Hughes’ Voice in ‘Your Story, My Story’
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 10th, 2022 3:07 am

It’s been a few years since I fell into a Sylvia Plath-themed rabbit hole, but ever since, I’ve been mystified by everything having to do with the poet. Whether or not you’re intimately acquainted with her craft or her life story, it’s still pretty well-known that her untimely demise came in the form of suicide. Though she struggled with depression most of her life and had previously attempted to end her life, passionate followers of hers were quick to point fingers at her equally talented husba...

Courtney Cook Bravely Punctures Society’s Preconceived Notions of Life with BPD in her Graphic Memoir, ‘The Way She Feels’
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 10th, 2022 3:16 am

In The Way She Feels, Courtney Cook shares her greatest vulnerabilities about living with borderline personality disorder. A mental illness that’s not well-understood and difficult to diagnose before the age of 18, Cook realizes how very little awareness there is out there about the reality of living with BPD. Her aim with this graphic memoir is to enlighten minds and give other sufferers a place to turn to for support. Cook takes us back to her younger years when the first signs of BPD began to...

Tishani Doshi’s ‘Small Days and Nights’ is an Existential Exploration of What it Means to be a Progressive Woman in a Man’s World
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 10th, 2022 3:20 am

Can a woman still find fulfillment in life as she approaches middle age, unmarried and childless while living in a country where family, marriage and procreation are held at high standards? This is the question Tishani Doshi sets out to answer in Small Days and Nights. Grace Marisola’s story begins as she’s traveling back to India for her mother’s funeral. She soon comes to learn that her mother has left her a property near the beach in the rural town of Paramankeni: a little pink house with blu...

John Kenney Explores the Ascent of Cancel Culture and Sensationalist Media in His Latest Novel, ‘Talk to Me’
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 10th, 2022 3:24 am

We’ve seen it time and time again, especially in recent years, parallel to the increasing popularity of social media: the tragic descent of some of our favorite and most trusted celebrities as they fall prey to cancel culture. All it takes is one small slip-up, and suddenly their lives are shattered. John Kenney tackles this new and strange phenomenon in his new novel, Talk to Me. Kenney dissects this strange enigma of the still unripe twenty-first century — an era still finding its footing in r...

Rebecca Watson’s Debut, ‘Little Scratch,’ Dismantles All Preconceived Ideas of Literature
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 10th, 2022 3:35 am

When I first opened my copy of Rebecca Watson’s summer debut, Little Scratch, at first glance, I thought there must be a misprint. Upon closer inspection, however, I realized this book was very different from any I’d ever read before. The narrative is deconstructed in such a way that we’re told everything that’s happening in real-time. Every moment of the protagonist’s day and the accompanying thoughts that arise while she’s moving through her day. The story begins as the protagonist, who’s neve...

Marie-Helene Bertino Steps Into a Surrealist Warp In New Novel ‘Parakeet’
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 14th, 2022 5:09 pm

Marie-Helene Bertino’s Parakeet is a vortex of symbolism and metaphors. Through the main character known solely as The Bride, we are taken into a world that is very much like our own but one that teeters into surrealism. When we first encounter The Bride, she’s engaging in conversation with a parakeet whom she understands to be her dead grandmother. She’s about to be married but is having some intense second thoughts. The pressure she feels, as her wedding day looms closer, begins to manifest in...

Susan Choi’s Award-Winning ‘Trust Exercise’ Incites the Perils of Adolescence in a Society Struggling with Authenticity
Reviewed By Maria Chance Jul 14th, 2022 5:17 pm

Adolescence is one of the most complicated stages of life. That formative period when you’re not quite a child and not quite an adult can be confusing as well as painful. In National Book Award for Fiction winner, Trust Exercise, Susan Choi deftly navigates the turbulent waters of adolescence, the lessons we are forced through and the marks these leave behind when we are so eager, though still so thoroughly unprepared, for a full-blown adult life. Trust Exercise is split into three chapterless p...