September 3, 2014

‘Belle City’ by Penny Mickelbury

Posted on September 1, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

From Annette Gordon-Reed’s works on the lives of the Hemingses and Jeffersons in Monticello, Virginia, to the new book by author Chris Tomlinson on his familial connections with African-American running back LaDainian Tomlinson, much has been written recently about America’s tangled multiracial family tree. Penny Mickelbury, one of the founders of black LGBTQ fiction, joins that group with her new novel Belle City. (more…)

‘Inga’s Zigzags’ by Vica Miller

Posted on August 31, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

Ah, to be in Moscow in 1997, where the men are rich and virile, the women stiletto-clad sylphs, and the economic landscape infinitely fertile. With a fresh divorce and MBA in hand, the heroine of Vica Miller’s Inga’s Zigzags returns after a decade in New York to make her fortune in the capitalist playground Russia has become. (more…)

‘Hypnotizing Chickens’ by Julia Watts

Posted on August 28, 2014 by in Reviews, Romance

In the opening of Hypnotizing Chickens, we find main character Chrys Pickett leaving a teaching job, with tenure, at Western Carolina State to move in with Dr. Meredith Padgett, a plastic surgeon with a faux mansion and maid. The move is a step up for Chrys, one she wasn’t entirely comfortable with, but she is glad for the relationship and the comforts of her new home. In spite of her disappointment with her new teaching job, she soldiers on, taking comfort in her relationship with her partner. But everything is not as it seems and Chrys is headed for heartbreak. (more…)

Rebecca Coffey: On Sigmund Freud’s Relationship with His Lesbian Daughter Anna and Using Fiction to Explore the Truth

Posted on August 25, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

On May 13, 2014 She Writes Press published Rebecca Coffey’s latest book, Hysterical: Anna Freud’s Story which has been getting very positive reviews. Booklist called it “complexly entertaining, sexually dramatic, [and] acidly funny”; Lambda Literary said it’s “got a plot so rife with tension it’ll make you squirm.” And Oprah’s magazine recommended it in its June 2014 issue. (more…)

Francine Prose: On Her New Historical Novel, Exploring the Psyches of Nazi Collaborators, and Examining Questions of Good and Evil

Posted on August 24, 2014 by in Features, Interviews

Set in Paris prior to and during World War II, Francine Prose’s historical novel, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 (HarperCollins), revolves around the lives of those who visit and perform at the Chameleon Club, a kind of burlesque joint/dance hall where “men danced with men, women with women in monocles and mustaches.” Club proprietor Yvonne, a “Hungarian chanteuse” keeps a lizard that matches her outfits; actually, she’s owned several—one died from exertion after being placed on a paisley print. (more…)

‘The River’s Memory’ by Sandra Gail Lambert

Posted on August 20, 2014 by in Fiction, Reviews

Not long ago, on a trip to Miami, I sat in the Charlotte airport waiting for my connecting flight, thinking about the art and literature of Florida. As a reasonably well-read and cultured New Englander, all that came to mind were Carl Hiaasen, Karen Russell, Art Deco, and the Indigo Girls’ song, “Salty South.” I’m fascinated by the unique art each geographical location in the US produces. For one country, our regions are so distinct, so unto themselves, and while strip malls and box stores do their insidious homogenizing work, I continue to seek out the ideas, expressions, geology, landscapes, flora and fauna that define a region. Reading Sandra Gail Lambert’s remarkable debut novel, The River’s Memory, I’ve found another name to add to my Florida list. (more…)

‘Olive Oil and White Bread’ by Georgia Beers

Posted on August 19, 2014 by in Reviews, Romance

Olive Oil and White Bread, the cleverly titled offering by romance novelist Georgia Beers, is the story of two women, one from a traditional yet accepting Italian-American family, and one from what can only be termed old-school, uppity American. Angelina Righetti’s family is warm and accepting. Jillian Clark has an apologetic father and a snooty, unsupportive mother. There is an immediate attraction when the women see each other from a distance at a softball game, but only meet months later. It’s clear from their early interactions that these two are meant to be together for a lifetime if they can only figure out what’s important in life and in relationship—and that’s where the problems begin. (more…)

‘If This Be Sin’ by Hazel Newlevant

Posted on August 17, 2014 by in Comics, Illustrated

I love comics about musicians, especially behind-the-scenes bios about their life and creative processes. So for me, Hazel Newlevant’s comic If This Be Sin, which features three music related stories, was like getting triple scoops of my favorite flavor. Plus, one of the stories is about the falling out of rock star musicians Wendy and Lisa with Prince, which this former Minnesotan couldn’t wait to read. What better way to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of Purple Rain than with a little reality check on what Prince is really like? (more…)

Bad Romance: Writers and Suicide

Posted on August 13, 2014 by in Features, Opinion

Suicide.

It goes against the grain of our very DNA. We are hard-wired to survive. Our autonomic reflexes tell us, live, breathe, run, live. For God’s sake, live.

Sometimes our brains rewire themselves. Sometimes pain outdistances DNA. Sometimes we want to die. Sometimes dying is not the threat, but the promise. (more…)

‘To look at the sea is to become what one is: An Etel Adnan Reader’ by Etel Adnan

Posted on August 12, 2014 by in Nonfiction, Poetry

Etel Adnan is practically an institution. With writing that has been set to music, turned into plays, and used in political protests, her gripping lyrical style coupled with deep philosophical prowess has made her a literary giant for decades. So when her retrospective collection, To look at the sea is to become what one is was announced to be released from Nightboat Books, I was thrilled to get my hands on a review copy. (more…)