Christine DeZelar-Tiedman

100 Articles

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PREMIUM

The Boy in the Field

There are perhaps a few too many coincidences in an attempt to tie up loose ends, but Livesey does well by her teenage protagonists while offering a vivid portrait of life among intellectuals in an Oxford-vicinity village.
PREMIUM

Empire of Wild

This new work from Canadian Métis writer Dimaline, celebrated for her YA novel The Marrow Thieves, recalls Neil Gaiman’s American Gods in its grittiness and humor as well as its depiction of gods and legendary creatures interfering in the lives of contemporary humans. Despite Joan’s tendency to smoke and drink too much and make foolish choices, her dogged determination to reclaim Victor and her belief in their love make her someone to root for. [See Prepub Alert, 1/15/20.]
PREMIUM

Sea Wife

This book’s unusual structure is effective once you figure out what Gaige is up to. There are multiple layers to explore for contemporary literary scholars or a committed book club, as Gaige (Schroder) has much to say about the struggles and complexities of marriage, particularly in our current political and cultural climate. [See Prepub Alert, 11/4/19.]

Writers & Lovers

While never minimizing the seriousness of Casey’s personal problems, the book is also funny and romantic and hard to put down, full of well-observed details of restaurant culture and writer’s workshops. It’s hard to imagine a reader who wouldn’t root for Casey. [See Prepub Alert, 9/9/19.].
PREMIUM

Bird Summons

Incorporating elements of magical realism and tales from both the Quran and Anglo folk traditions, this latest from Aboulela (The Kindness of Enemies) is a strange mix of domestic realism and fantasy/allegory. The supernatural aspects start out subtly and almost unnoticeably but begin to take over in the book’s last third, which makes the conclusion a bit heavy-handed if intriguing.
PREMIUM

The Truants

Though the outlines of the story are familiar, Jess is eminently sympathetic and likable, and Weinberg skillfully depicts the headiness of the transition to college life. The ending feels needlessly protracted, however, as Jess spends several years during and after college (and following what should be the climax of the novel) attempting to solve the mystery of what happened her first year. [See Prepub Alert, 7/15/19.]

PREMIUM

Pain

Essentially a midlife crisis novel with a lot of meditation over choice and chance and how they impact what follows, this story by Shalev (The Remains of Love) effectively depicts contemporary Israeli life but is a bit of a downer.
PREMIUM

A Pure Heart

Giving a voice to everyone, even the bomber, Hassib displays empathy and compassion steeped in a deep knowledge of her subject. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 2/4/19.]

Out of Darkness, Shining Light

Gappah decolonizes the legend of Dr. Livingstone by turning the tale inside out, giving voice to those who are overlooked, or dealt with dismissively, in the official narratives. The result is an indictment of the legacy of slavery and colonialism that is also an engrossing adventure story. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 3/4/19.]

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