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The Metamorphosis
Endlessly dissected, ripped apart, its guts laid out on a slab, sewn back together, reconstructed, reinterpreted, misunderstood, misinterpreted, parod ...more
Feb 03, 2009
Dec 19, 2008
Good Omens: The Nice & Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
It is really hard to write good literary satire. Simple fact is that often satire goes too far over to the side of parody. When it crosses that line, ...more
Aug 04, 2008
Apr 12, 2008
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
I can’t help but feel like a jackass for coming to the game so late. It has been over ten years since Civilwarland in Bad Decline was first published ...more
Apr 12, 2008
Mar 26, 2008
There are certain great novels that trap you in a character’s head. Smothering you, allowing for no air other than the dank pollution of a character’s ...more
May 25, 2015
Jul 03, 2014
The Death of Bunny Munro
What a difference twenty years makes. Nick Cave’s first novel, And the Ass Saw the Angel, which was released in 1989, opens with:

“Three greasy brothe
Oct 14, 2009
Sep 22, 2009
The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake
I'm going to give all the credit to author Alan Beard who tipped me off to Breece D'J Pancake. I'll have to eat crow that a Brit new more about Pancak ...more
Aug 22, 2014
Jun 25, 2014
The Summer Book
You have to applaud simplicity in writing. It is the hardest thing for a writer to achieve. That sense of keeping the book ‘small’ for lack of a bette ...more
Nov 08, 2008
Aug 16, 2008
Elmer Gantry
Sinclair Lewis' writing always sticks with me. Perhaps it is because he so wonderfully savaged American culture, laying out all its ills, prejudices, ...more
not set
Feb 26, 2008
Child of God
"We never sold any of his books."—Albert Erskine, Cormac McCarthy's original editor at Random House.

Is it any wonder? Released in 1973, Child of God p
Sep 24, 2014
Sep 05, 2014
Swedish Death Metal
When explaining my love of Swedish death metal to non-fans, I always fall back on one main point that suddenly piques their curiosity. Death Metal is ...more
Jan 12, 2009
Nov 16, 2008
Nine Stories
I always felt Salinger was overrated. Nine Stories is a perfect example of this. This really is the birth of New Yorker upper-crust fiction and for th ...more
Feb 10, 2010
Jan 30, 2010
Dirty Snow
The subtitle of Dirty Snow should have been, Take That Camus! While not a specific counter-punch to Camus’ L’Étranger, Simenon’s dark story of a murde ...more
Apr 08, 2012
Dec 02, 2009
Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness: Four Short Novels
What a way to finish up my tour of the great Japanese writers of the 20th century. It’s not often you can call a writer brave. Generally it’s reserved ...more
Sep 17, 2010
Dec 06, 2009
The Rebels
I was lucky enough to read Sándor Márai’s The Rebels while traveling through Budapest, Bratislava, and Prague. This was part of my standing rule of re ...more
May 30, 2009
Mar 09, 2008
How the Other Half Lives
Perhaps the scariest part about reading Jacob Riis’s How The Other Half Lives is how much of it still rings true. The New York City of his time is not ...more
Jun 21, 2014
Mar 23, 2014
How to Catch a Coyote
How do you survive a family? That is what is at the heart of How to Catch a Coyote. In Christy Crutchfield’s first novel, she lays everything out for ...more
not set
Jun 20, 2015
The Violent Bear It Away
You could view The Violent Bear it Away as a companion novel to Flannery O’Connor’s earlier Wise Blood. The are the only two novels O’Connor published ...more
Dec 21, 2014
Jul 03, 2014
The Face of Another
It is not surprising that readers, even if they are devout fans of Kōbō Abe, don’t take to The Face of Another in the same manner as The Woman in the ...more
not set
Feb 05, 2012
I’m not giving anything away when I say Coyote is about a missing child. It’s the first thing you find out in the first line of Colin Winnette’s new n ...more
not set
Jan 29, 2015
Jesus' Son: Stories
It’s probably no accident that so many of Denis Johnson’s characters find themselves in cars heading to nowhere. The misfits and sinners that populate ...more
Jan 2013
Mar 25, 2013
The Woman in the Dunes
Next up in my run through of the great Post-War Japanese literary giants, is Kōbō Abe. (You can check out my review of Shusaku Endo’s Silence here).

Jun 06, 2010
Aug 16, 2008
Greyhound For Breakfast
You can see how James Kelman can throw people. He’s not the first writer to spin tales of the down-and-out. These are gritty stories full of the hard- ...more
Nov 11, 2014
Sep 19, 2014
The Corpse Exhibition: And Other Stories of Iraq
War reveals humanity as much as it destroys it. At least that is the bent of Blasim's stunning collection of short punchy stories delivered mostly fro ...more
Oct 13, 2014
Sep 25, 2014
The Widow
Along with The Man Who Watched Trains Go By and Dirty Snow, this is one of my favorites by Simenon. Less complex in its construction than those other ...more
not set
Dec 02, 2009
Dead Stock (Bert Shambles Mystery #1)
Take Hitchcock's North by Northwest and transplant it to the wilds of Eastern Long Island. But instead of the sophisticated urbanite Roger Thornhill, ...more
Oct 02, 2014
Aug 17, 2014
"I would prefer not to, but..."

That is the excuse at the heart of Tanzer's well-executed science fiction tale. Which at first seems odd for the author
Nov 02, 2014
Aug 18, 2014
Witch Piss
Imagine, if you will, a Shakespeare play dedicated entirely to the gravediggers in Hamlet. The interesting part about the Bard’s comic characters — no ...more
not set
Dec 18, 2014
The Book of Duels
Superb prose and gritty storytelling with tons of depth. The title tells you everything you need to know and Garriga gave himself a near impossible ta ...more
not set
Mar 23, 2014
Rampart and Toulouse
I’m not sure which came first: the photography or the writing. What I do know is that Kristin Fouquet’s love of photography infuses her storytelling. ...more
not set
Aug 18, 2011
The Loved One
In the hand of any other writer, a macabre little book such as this would come across as overwrought and fall apart from too much nudging and winking ...more
Jul 12, 2010
Jun 20, 2010
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