The Johnstown Girls by Kathleen George. (History-Related Novel, 2014). On the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889 two journalists with a major Pittsburgh newspaper are in search of fresh angles for a series of articles on the subject. Ben Bragdon and his younger co-worker Nina Collins plan to feature an […]Read more "BOOK REVIEW: The Johnstown Girls"
Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala (Contemporary Novel, 2018). This powerful and often engrossing novel is Iweala’s third novel. His first (Beasts of No Nation) was particularly and widely acclaimed, winning multiple awards and literary prizes. He’s a graduate of both Harvard University and the Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. He splits his time between […]Read more "REVIEWED: Speak No Evil"
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott (Historical Novel, 2017). McDermott won the National Book Award in 1998 and has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize multiple times. This title is my first exposure to her and I found it quite a fascinating and rewarding read. Since it’s set in the first half of the 20th Century, […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Ninth Hour"
The Floating World by C. Morgan Babst (Contemporary Novel, 2017). This novel focuses on an multi-racial family struggling to deal with Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. The disaster exaggerates and forces them to confront underlying tensions and issues none of them are eager to admit to, let alone confront. Tess, the mother, is a wealthy white […]Read more "REVIEWED: The Floating World"
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo MBue (Contemporary Novel, 2017). I pretty much agree with the front-cover blurb (a quote from The New York Times’ review of this strong first novel). The author is, like her main characters, a native of Limbe (a city on the west-African coast of Cameroon). She’s lived in the US for over a decade […]Read more "REVIEWED: Behold the Dreamers"
Trajectory by Richard Russo (Story Collection, 2017). The latest book from Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo is a collection of four novella-length works. Three previously saw publication elsewhere, while the fourth is new. They all display Russo’s skills in characterization, as well as deftly presenting their various settings. In “Horseman,” a young college professor confronts plagiarism from […]Read more "REVIEWED: Trajectory"