Skip to content

Category: Book Reviews

Book Review: The Third Man & The Fallen Idol by Graham Greene

Iconic twentieth century author Graham Greene referred to some of his works somewhat unfairly as “entertainments,” and among these are The Third Man and The Fallen Idol — two novellas published as one volume by Penguin. The Third Man is, in some ways, an archetypal mid-century detective mystery and The Fallen Idol is a psychological thriller. But Greene takes such care…

Book Review: So I Wrote You a Poem by David Tensen

This little collection of poems is very much a product of our times, but with a nod to a bygone era too. Through social media, Australian poet David Tensen invited his readers to submit to him their stories of loss, alienation and trauma — narratives that he then committed to transforming into poetry. As the poet is an avid collector…

Book Review: Ruse of Discontent by Matthew Epperson

The author of this novel exploring the harsh realities of addiction is an inmate at a prison in Kentucky. With the help of friends on the outside, Matthew Epperson self-published a book presenting the tragedy of lives lost to substance abuse. One of the more striking features of a narrative dotted with gritty, uncomfortable scenes is the authentic voice that…

Book Review: The Violent Bear It Away by Flannery O’Connor

Every page of Flannery O’Connor’s 1960 novel The Violent Bear It Away is a haunting read. The narrative is uncomfortable, the rich imagery captivating and at times suffocating; it’s as if every forest, highway, sky and human interaction is steeped in a mystery that the mind can never fully understand. O’Connor sets the tone of her story with a Scripture…

Book Review: A Poor Man’s Supper by Jim Gulledge

Jim Gulledge’s novel A Poor Man’s Supper explores the drudgery of a harsh life in a rural, mountainous corner of North Carolina in the post-Civil War era, as well as those small, faint blessings in life that have the power to restore dignity to people who have been dehumanized by the conditions of the world. On the surface, A Poor…

Book Review: De Profundis by Oscar Wilde

De Profundis, a 55,000 word letter from disgraced author Oscar Wilde addressed to his love, Lord Alfred Douglas, who had spurned him, is at times more compelling due to its history, form and intended purpose than its actual substance. In 1897 Wilde was languishing in Reading prison on a conviction of gross indecency when the reformist and compassionate warden, Major…

Book Review: There There by Christopher Walker

British author Christopher Walker has built a life for himself as an expatriate in Bielsko-Biała, a town in southern Poland, where he has lived for over a decade and where he teaches English. His fictional work There There, which he sent me in exchange for an independent review, offers relatable storytelling for those of us who have experienced the authentic, unglamorous…

Book Review: Love Notes for Modest Young Men by Ryan R. Latini

Ryan R. Latini’s Love Notes for Modest Young Men presents us with a motley crew of characters who populate a collection of short stories told in the first person. The author sent me a copy of his first book of fiction in exchange for an independent review. I am especially interested in learning about the experiences of emerging authors before…

Book Review: Questions of Perspective by Daniel Maunz

Daniel Maunz mailed me a copy of his book, scheduled for release in May 2020, in exchange for an independent review. What’s paradoxical in Questions of Perspective is that we have in our hands a deeply human narrative, even as the author explores the divine concept of omniscience. In the surreal reality of COVID-19, which all of us are living,…

Book Review: Decline and Fall by Evelyn Waugh

With his signature sardonic humour, Evelyn Waugh takes aim at the hypocrisy, corruption, artifice and pettiness that underpins the English class system and public education in the early twentieth century. Set at a boarding school in Wales, Waugh pulls away the curtain of pretense to reveal a set of deeply flawed characters and misfits, who populate a narrative that reads…