Book Reviews

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 

In her latest novel, “Frankissstein,” Jeanette Winterson tackles a re-telling of Frankenstein that strikes an effective balance between comedy and pathos, blending fact and fiction into a hybrid form that is not unlike Victor Frankenstein’s hybrid monster-man. Structurally, the book traverses two time periods. It opens in 1816 at Lake Geneva, where Mary Shelley conceives of her monster tale on a rainy night that traps her indoors with Percy, Lord Byron and other guests. In the present-day plot, Brexit is alive and well in Britain and a smart, thoughtful, transgender doctor, Ry Shelley, falls in love with Victor Stein, a professor famous for his work in the field of AI…

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Like her first and second novels, “Where the Line Bleeds” and the National Book Award-winning “Salvage the Bones,” Ms. Ward’s latest book takes place on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and unflinchingly explores the bonds of young black siblings surrounded by strife, but anchored in strength.

Washington City Paper

Though Cross River is a fictional Maryland town, its inhabitants feel vividly alive in the hands of author Rion Amilcar Scott.

Washington City Paper

To read George Saunders’s debut novel, Lincoln in The Bardo, is to immerse oneself fully in the act of feeling deeply and widely. Saunders fans have long experienced this depth and breadth of emotional immersion in reading his short stories: The Semplica Girl Diaries conjures belly laughs at the folly of a man obsessed with being a “somebody,” yet produces a case of heartsickness for the same character, a father, a regular guy with a paunch and a condescending father-in-law and beloved kids and a general sense of having failed at life. And Sea Oak, with its male-stripper narrator who lives in subsidized housing and is haunted…

Washington City Paper

According to Amnesty International, the death penalty is not a deterrent to violent crimes, and it claims innocent lives…

Cultural Weekly

Longtime Los Angeles theatre critic Steven Leigh Morris’s debut novel is ostensibly about chickens and plays. While it’s true that roosters, hens, and the Los Angeles theatre scene feature prominently in Fowl Play, the book’s most essential and compelling story is that of a man moving toward re-birth…

 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Building a Better Teacher" by Elizabeth GreenWhile Ms. Green ultimately succeeds in building a solid case for better teacher training and for implementing a more rigorous approach to preparing teachers for their careers, it sometimes feels like she’s a greatest-hits album curator, quickly summarizing too many movements and dropping too many names to really construct a record with focused staying power…