Posts Tagged ‘book reviews’

Book Reviews: Late Summer Debuts

Today, we are pleased to bring you reviews of two late summer debuts. First up: Adam O’Fallon Price’s The Grand Tour. This book chronicles the friendship between an established and an emerging writer as they embark on a road trip together. Pretty irresistible, right? Reviewer Brett Beach says: “The best comedic writing is used to speak to the parts of life that may be hardest to face. In The Grand Tour . . . Adam O’Fallon Price both skewers the pessimistic, narcissistic tendencies we all harbor, and suggests that no amount of mistakes or failures can truly inure a person to change.”

Second, we review One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist, the debut collection from Masters Review author Dustin M. Hoffman, and winner of the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. Reviewer Augusto Corvalan writes: “With One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist Hoffman has fashioned a collection that does not stand on the strength of its individual stories so much as the cohesive world it creates and the lives it inhabits with such heartfelt honesty and understanding.”

the-grand-tour-bigThe Grand Tour by Adam O’Fallon Price

Richard Lazar, the protagonist of Adam O’Fallon Price’s debut novel The Grand Tour, is a washed-up, mid-list writer—divorced, overweight, often drunk, with most of his books out of print, and barely in contact with his grown daughter. But unexpected success arrives with the publication of his sixth book, a memoir about his service (and eventual desertion) during the Vietnam War. To capitalize on the book’s momentum, Lazar’s publishing house sends him on a book tour. The disastrous consequences of the book tour are chronicled with humorous precision and deep feeling by Price, transforming The Grand Tour from a comedic road trip novel into a meditation on the relationship between creation, desperation, and hope.

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one-hundred-knuckled-fistOne-Hundred-Knuckled Fist by Dustin M. Hoffman

Knife pushers, diggers, painters, can pickers, snake mimes, fire chasers, thieves and ice cream men populate the stories in Dustin M. Hoffman’s One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist, his debut collection from University of Nebraska Press. The book was named the winner of the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. The stories here feature men (and they are largely men) who live by their hands, who work in subdivisions, who build cookie-cutter houses. They are defined by their work, by toil and back-break. They live hardscrabble lives and are either aiming higher or sinking slowly down.

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Book Review: Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Today, Cole Meyer reviews Imbolo Mbue’s notable debut novel, Behold the Dreamers. The book follows a young Cameroonian family that immigrates to the United States in the years leading up to the Great Recession. Meyer writes: “Behold the Dreamers feels as though it’s needed right now: a novel about the strife of the immigrant, often overlooked or ignored, in the midst of an influx of refugees.” Add this to your reading lists, everyone.

BEHOLD THE DREAMERSImbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers follows a Cameroonian family as they immigrate to the United States in the years before the financial collapse of 2008. This debut novel explores the complicated relationships between where we’re from and where we end up living, between love and family, sacrifice and reward.

Jende Jonga leaves Limbe, Cameroon for the US in 2004 and secures a job as a livery cab driver three years before his wife and son’s immigration. With the help of his cousin, Jende becomes a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, an associate at Lehman Brothers. When Jende arrived in the US, at the advice of his immigration lawyer, he applied for asylum, with an invented story of persecution at the hands of his father-in-law, a plan which quickly falls apart. Jende’s wife, Neni, travels to the country on an academic visa, with hopes of becoming a pharmacist. The financial crisis is steadily approaching, but Mbue places personal road bumps for the Jongas along the way, foregrounding their struggles. Read more.