Have Words–Will Write 'Em

On Books, Writers, Most Things Written, Including My Light Verse.

Archive for August, 2013

I Review Rick Bass’s “All the Land to Hold Us.”

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There, men lust for and consume the desert’s treasures: salt, oil, water. Stones whisper secrets, elephants cry and dance, children cremate puppets in a funeral pyre, and sentinel-like skeletons hear music and possess a longing that hasn’t perished with their bodies. That harsh and lonely landscape, brilliant and searing, draws toward it treasure hunters, oilmen, and two pairs of lovers from different generations “as the eye of the needle of heaven is said to draw human souls.” Each searches for riches: oil, salt, fresh water, or romance; gold, glittering silica, human relics, or love. But no matter the treasure, no one seems fully satisfied; instead they hunger and consume.

Click the image below to read my review in the August 26 edition of the Boston Globe.

You can buy All the Land to Hold Us at Barnes & Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

August 25th, 2013 at 9:34 pm

I Review Peter Orner’s “Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge” in The Daily Beast

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Characters, or their relatives, from Orner’s previous stories drop by; other stories portray the personal reminiscences of new characters. Orner is a devotee of the short story and writes the column “The Lonely Voice,” named after Frank O’Connor’s book, over at The Rumpus. In this book, Orner pays literary props and shout-outs to writers he admires and shares writerly bonds with like Isaac Babel, George Eliot, Virginia Woolf, and John Cheever; although Eudora Welty, whom Orner considers America’s greatest, most bad ass short story writer, can’t fight her way into these stories. The stories here are plenty bad ass.

Click the image below to read my review in The Daily Beast.

You can buy Last Car Over the Sagamore Bridge at Barnes & Noble

Written by Joe Peschel

August 13th, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I Review Paul Yoon’s First Novel, “Snow Hunters”

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Yohan’s quiet life becomes a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder: depression and anxiety caused by his prison time and the death of his blind friend, Peng. Yoon portrays Yohan’s recollections as subtle, but nightmarish exposition. Details are minimal. Yohan and other POWs would “carry the bodies of men who had been captured and who had not survived.”

Click the image below to read my review in the August, 2013, edition of The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

You can buy Snow Hunters at Barnes and Noble.

Written by Joe Peschel

August 4th, 2013 at 9:06 am