Christine DeZelar-Tiedman

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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.

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.]


Here, Zink (Mislaid) seems to follow her characters where they want to go rather than imposing an orchestrated plot on them. Thus, what starts as a gritty “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” novel turns into a family drama about generational conflict, then a story about our current sociopolitical moment. For these engaging characters, the attempt to find meaning and purpose is often detoured when the universe has other plans. [See Prepub Alert, 2/18/19/.]

The Lager Queen of Minnesota

Stradal’s follow up to Kitchens of the Great Midwest wins you over with its good-heartedness, despite its flirtation with cloying folksiness at times. For regional collections and where beer is popular. [See Prepub Alert, 1/7/19.]


This work shines as an example of how cultural specificity can highlight universal themes. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 12/3/18.]


Seeking to demythologize an era, Furst upends our often nostalgic, peace-and-love view of the Sixties. He's particularly adept at painting a visceral picture of Freedom's surroundings, using the observational gifts of a child; glimpses of real-life activist figures such as William Kunstler and Phil Ochs add to the verisimilitude. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 10/22/18.]

Feast Your Eyes

Without being overt, this story is feminist at its core, as Lillian struggles twice as hard to subsist as an artist and is criticized for prioritizing her work over personal relationships. A strong book club pick.

The Last Romantics

Structural problems aside, the examination of trauma and its impact on family relationships is believably rendered. [See Prepub Alert, 7/31/18.]

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