LitStack Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

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Vinegar Girl  (Hogarth Shakespeare)    The Taming of the Shrew Retold Anne Tyler Hogarth Release Date:  June 21, 2016 ISBN 978-0-8041-4126-0 In October of 2015, Hogarth, an imprint of the publishing giant Penguin Random House, launched a literary series where Shakespeare’s works would be “retold by acclaimed and bestselling novelists of today.” Five out of [….]

LitStack Review: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

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Hag-Seed (Hogarth Shakespeare) Margaret Atwood Hogarth Release Date:  October 11, 2016 ISBN 978-0-8041-4129-1 In October of 2015, Hogarth, an imprint of the publishing giant Penguin Random House, launched a literary series where Shakespeare’s works would be “retold by acclaimed and bestselling novelists of today.” Five out of a planned eight novels in the series have [….]

LitStack Review: LaRose by Louise Erdrich

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LaRose Louise Erdrich Harper Release Date:  May 10, 2016 ISBN 978-0-06-227702-2 Last year, Louise Erdrich was awarded the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, honoring a body of work that has spanned over 30 years.  In 2014, she won the PEN/Saul Bellow Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize Distinguished Achievement Award, both of [….]

LitStack Review: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

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Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler Alfred A. Knopf Release Date:  May 24, 2016 ISBN 978-11-0187-594-0 Sweetbitter, the debut novel from newcomer Stephanie Danler, is a lot like New York City:  completely wrapped up in itself, which means it is sometimes incredibly pretentious, and at other times absolutely perfect.  It is, however, uniquely honest with itself and the [….]

LitStack Recs: Who Do You Love & Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

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Who Do You Love: Stories, by Jean Thompson May is #ShortStoryMonth, and this is third in a series of LitStackRecs on great short story collections. In my favorite short stories, something singular happens to a character, usually out of nowhere, a setting that is exceptionally vivid—almost a character in itself—and a narrator who can see [….]

LitStack Review: The Past by Tessa Hadley

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The Past Tessa Hadley Harper Release Date:  January 5, 2016 ISBN 978-0-06-227041-2 As I read Tessa Hadley’s newest novel, The Past, I had the same feeling as when I eat brussel sprouts.  To be honest, I don’t particularly care for brussel sprouts; they are somewhat of an acquired taste for my rather pedestrian palate.  But [….]

LitStack Rec: Desperate Characters & The Terror

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Desperate Characters, by Paula Fox This classic of literary fiction, first published in 1970, is also a classic example of a novel that was lost to readers, then found. In 1999, when this—and all Paula Fox’s adult novels—fell out of print, interest in the author and her work was almost single-handedly revived by Jonathan Franzen, [….]

LitStack Recs: Stoner & Speak Easy

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Stoner, by John Williams John Williams’ 1965 novel went out of print after selling only 2,000 copies, but since its re-release by Vintage in 1995, this novel of a Midwestern academic’s insular life has appeared on bestseller lists in Europe and Israel and sold over 100,000 copies. Stoner seems at first an unlikely candidate for [….]

Flash Review: Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson

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Fortune Smiles Adam Johnson Random House Release Date:  August 18, 2015 ISBN 978-0-8129-9747-7 While this flash review was being written, “Fortune Smiles” was awarded the 2015 National Book Award for Fiction. In a 2010 interview for Electric Lit, author Adam Johnson was asked about the motivation behind his upcoming book, The Orphan Master’s Son (which [….]

LitStack Review: The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan

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The Hummingbird Stephen P. Kiernan William Morrow Release Date:  September 8, 2015 ISBN 978-0-06-236954-3 Deborah Birch, the heroine of Stephen P. Kiernan’s novel, The Hummingbird, must not have been an easy character to write.  She is no sharp tongued dilettante nor sharp eyed detective, no struggling artist confronting her past nor wide eyed twixter dipping [….]