Review: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

30688435Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead 2017)

Reviewed by Andres Vaamonde

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid is about magic portals. It’s about immigration. It’s about distance. But mostly, it’s about love. Continue reading “Review: Exit West by Mohsin Hamid”

Review: Landscape of The Wait by Jami Macarty

51C4Sad+45L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Landscape of The Wait by Jami Macarty (Finishing Line Press, 2017)

Reviewed by Michelle Mitchell-Foust

Derived from the ancient word for “watching,” waiting seems especially relegated to the human animal. Waiting implies the existence of a thought process as well as biology–a stasis, a trance. The state implies a wish, as a reaction to time and action. It makes sense that the literature of waiting has ancient origins, and that the sub-genre thrives during war. The world’s most important epics are also part of the body of the literature of waiting. The Odyssey and Penelope’s wait, and The Aeneid and Dido’s wait are two of our most essential examples. Naturally, the literature of waiting thrived during World War II, when Yehuda Amichai wrote the marvelous poem I heard him read in Hebrew and in English at the Hillel Center at UCLA in the 1990’s, where he said, in essence, that the war was not worth the poems made by the light of warfare. It begins

Out of three or four in a room,

One is always standing at the window.

Forced to see the injustice among the thorns,

The fires on the hills.

Continue reading “Review: Landscape of The Wait by Jami Macarty”

Review: The Emissary by Yoko Tawada

9780811227629_emissary

The Emissary by Yoko Tawada, trans. by Margaret Mitsutani (New Directions 2018)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

It had been my intention all along to review Yoko Tawada’s most recently translated novel The Emissary this week, and the announcement that Tawada was the recipient of the first award for translated literature since the National Book Award became the National Book Award in the early 1980s only solidified my thrill at getting the chance to write about this novel. Though all the books selected this year are exciting – I am particularly interested in finally reading Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend – I am particularly happy to see this nod to translated books in American literature. Compared to most countries America’s publication of translated works is nominal, and I respect and appreciate the National Book Award in their effort to encourage publishers to look internationally for new voices. Continue reading “Review: The Emissary by Yoko Tawada”

Editor’s Note: On Book Reviews as Service

This summer, I took a bit of a break from Drizzle for many reasons. I had a sudden illness and death in my family that shook everyone I loved. I moved my partner across the country to join me in Massachusetts. It was a good break, and a hard one. It was needed. Perhaps it’s the break or it’s just the drizzly fall weather that has me reflecting on this site and its origins, but now that Drizzle has returned from hiatus in full autumnal swing I wanted to take a moment to think and write about why reviewing books is important, and the role it’s played in my life and that it continues to play in the literary world. Continue reading “Editor’s Note: On Book Reviews as Service”

Review: Plastic: An Autobiography by Allison Cobb

cobbepcoverPlastic: An Autobiography by Allison Cobb (Essay Press, 2015)

Reviewed by Thomas Chisholm

Allison Cobb isn’t interested in delivering epiphanies to readers. She’s interested in literature that opens a mystery and a sense of wonder, and offers a container for others to experience that opening. Plastic: An Autobiography, embodies that mysterious and wonderful opening. It was published as a free digital download by Essay Press in September 2015. The book is a part of their “EP Series,” (as in extended play) where authors are given extended space and time to develop book-length projects. At the time of publication, Plastic: An Autobiography comprised of half the material Allison Cobb had written at that point. Continue reading “Review: Plastic: An Autobiography by Allison Cobb”

Resistance, Multiplicity, and The Literary Canon: An Interview with Victoria Chang

71rXad9D74L

Contributing editor Leonora Simonovis interviews poet Victoria Chang about her fourth collection of poems, BARBIE CHANG, out from Copper Canyon Press in 2017. They discuss resistance, the idea of being and representing otherness, the playfulness of poetry, and Chang’s forthcoming collection, which features short obituary poems written after the death of her mother. Continue reading “Resistance, Multiplicity, and The Literary Canon: An Interview with Victoria Chang”

Review: The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

51SEzgcAiTL._SX341_BO1,204,203,200_

The Grip of It by Jac Jemc (FSG Originals, 2017)

Reviewed by Michelle Mitchell-Foust

An old chain spools around a metal pulley next to a swinging kitchen door. The silver chain comes up from somewhere under the wooden living room floor and returns to the same place. When I pull it, it gives a little. On the pulley, three words circle, raised in the brown metal: Closed, Open, and Check. And there is a dial, a hefty metal switch that only moves a centimeter. Other than the give, nothing happens. It’s neat and old and mysteriously low to the ground next to the built-in hutch. An examination of the basement where the chain ends and begins again reveals nothing.

This chain is just one of those objects humans wonder about when they find them after they have moved houses, as I have just done. Continue reading “Review: The Grip of It by Jac Jemc”