Review: Whereas by Layli Long Soldier

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Review: Whereas by Layli Long Solider (Gray Wolf Press, 2017)

Reviewed by Michelle Mitchell-Foust

I was lost, looking for a wedding in the Valley of Fire, Red Rock, Nevada.  At every curve in the road, I thought the towering stone formations might reveal my friend’s white dress. When it was clear I wouldn’t find the party, I parked the car and wandered into the crevices between the rocks. I waded through the fine, pink sand to the place where I could see the petroglyphs carved into their faces. Around me were creatures who looked rabbit-human, goat-human, and spirals, and horned insecta. I walked deeper into the rock, looking for more of the 3000-year-old language, the setting sun making the world more red. Continue reading

Review: Autumn by Ali Smith

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Autumn by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, 2016)

Reviewed by Brenna McPeek

Ali Smith’s multi-faceted novel Autumn tries to do many things—things that, when listed out, seemingly couldn’t (and maybe shouldn’t) all fit into one novel. The novel, the first in a seasonally inspired series of four, takes on the perplexity of post-Brexit England, constructs a refreshing intellectual relationship between a young girl and her elderly neighbor, and poetically ponders the complexities of death, nature and memory. And those are just the major plot players. In Autumn, Smith embarks on a path that proves challenging—as paths dealing with today’s muddled political landscape unequivocally are—and her results are often staggering. But some choices she makes fall short, or maybe don’t go as far as they need to –they result in the reader wondering, for example, why we just spent fifteen or so pages on an infuriating trip to the Post Office for a passport. Smith gives us a lot to chew on, but while many aspects of the novel go down smoothly, others get stuck in your mental molars only to be found weeks later, just as bothersome as they were when you first tried to digest them. Continue reading

Review: Gas, Food, and No Lodging by Devi Laskar

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Gas, Food, and No Lodging by Devi Laskar (Finishing Line Press, 2017)

Reviewed by Leonora Simonovis

The term “interculturality” has been widely used in pedagogic and academic settings to contextualize the interactions between individuals from two or more cultures. Rather than speaking about others and their differences, an interculturally competent individual seeks to establish a dialogue that acknowledges diversity and, at the same time, focuses on aspects that make communication possible and that enable an understanding of another person’s culture. In a world where borders are becoming increasingly porous, more and more writers address these exchanges in their work from a variety of perspectives, sometimes as observers, others as insiders. Such is the work of poets Erika Sanchez, Javier Zamora, Juan Felipe Herrera, Layli Longsoldier, Natalie Diaz, Sherman Alexie, Li-Young Lee or Jaswinder Bolina, to mention just a few. Continue reading

Recommended Reading: 2017 National Book Award Nominees

by Rebecca Valley

In anticipation of the short-list announcement tomorrow, the staff here at Drizzle have compiled a list of our favorite and most-anticipated National Book Award nominees, announced by the National Book Foundation in mid-September.

You can check out the full list here. Winners will be announced in a ceremony on November 15th — which gives you plenty of time to start reading! Continue reading

Review: The Voice of That Singing by Juliet Rodeman

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The Voice of That Singing by Juliet Rodeman (Tupelo Press, 2017)

Reviewed by Michelle Mitchell-Foust

Early in Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Mirror, a child watches the family barn burning behind their country house. It’s raining. His young mother watches too, her back to the camera, the water dripping off the porch awning. Still the barn burns. No urgency, as though a barn burning is a natural part of the landscape. Over the course of the film, in every room of the country house, the watcher has the feeling that the child, the narrator—Tarkovsky’s voice reciting his father’s poems–is living at once every age of his life. Continue reading

Review: Tell Me How it Ends by Valeria Luiselli

tell me howTell Me How it Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House Press, 2017)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

In Tell Me How it Ends, novelist Valeria Luiselli sheds the cloak of fiction to write a different kind of narrative – one that, as the author’s daughter discovers, doesn’t have a neat ending. The book tackles Luiselli’s experience volunteering at an immigration court in New York City, where she translated the answers migrant children gave to the questions that stood between a return to their home country and the promise of a new life in the United States. Continue reading