The Masters Review Blog

Nov 19

Book Reviews: Our Secret Life in the Movies and The Ploughmen

Check out what we’re excited about this fall season. Publisher A Strange Object has done it again with this fascinating book of short stories inspired by the films in the Criterion Collection. Our Secret Life in the Movies is intoxicating, and is at the top of our fall must-read list. We also love a dark and somber winter tale, and Kim Zupan’s The Ploughmen delivers in this story about a rookie deputy and a captured serial killer who share more than they’d like to admit. Editor Arielle Yarwood writes of the novel: “The intimacy of their relationship is unsettlingly belied by the metal bars between them and the unremorseful manner in which Gload retells his gruesome deeds.”

OSLITM_finalOut of a set of unique constraints, Michael McGriff and J.M. Tyree have written a strange and wonderful little book of fiction. Our Secret Life in the Movies does not follow any obvious narrative path, depending instead on a set of prompts to lead the way. The authors, former university classmates, decided to watch the entire Criterion Collection and write stories based on each film. This slim volume of short fiction is the result, a work of experimental writing that offers mainstream readers cinematic references as ballast.

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The PloughmenThe Ploughmen, now available through publisher Henry Holt, is the perfect book to read this autumn. Kim Zupan weaves a story that is equal parts discomfiting and beautiful, desolate and richly imagined. Set in the wilds of rural Montana, The Ploughmen follows the complicated relationship between a rookie deputy and the serial killer caged in his jailhouse. The novel explores the essence of friendship and morality. Valentine Millimaki is the cop who searches for those lost in the unyielding wilderness, and lately all he’s been able to find are the dead. It has been too long since he’s rescued someone; the string of those he was unable to help stretches out behind him, following his footsteps. When he’s assigned to the night shift at the jail, he’s already haunted—both by his work and his failing marriage. Read more.


Check out more great fall book reviews here!

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