The Masters Review book review series continues our mission of introducing readers to the next great authors. It is your source for exciting releases by writers who have something new to say. We are particularly interested in books from small and independent presses, chapbooks, graphic novels, experimental forms, and innovative works. We aim to focus the bulk of our reviews on writers who have published no more than two novel-length books, though we do occasionally review notable established writers.
From Kelly Luce’s magical debut story collection from A Strange Object, to Christy Crutchfield’s first novel, which plays with form, to Kim Zupan’s quiet, haunting debut, here are a few of our favorite reviews.
Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail is a notable debut on two platforms. It is the first short story collection from writer Kelly Luce, whose sensibility and prose rings brilliant on the page. It is also the first book from publisher A Strange Object, co-founded by publishing veterans Callie Collins and Jill Meyers. Luce and her publishers have aligned a lovely and startling collection of short stories that readers will devour. I absolutely did. I fell in love with this book.
Christy Crutchfield’s How To Catch A Coyote tells the tragic narrative of the Walker family by expertly defying traditional narrative structure. Straightaway, the reader is given the bare bones of the story. Within the first ten pages we learn the principal narrative events, so I don’t think it’s giving away too much to describe them here: Hill Walker drops out of college and marries Maryanne when she gets pregnant with their daughter, Dakota; later, they have a son, Daniel; Hill molests his daughter; Maryanne kicks Hill out; the daughter leaves town; Hill dies from rabies. In the subsequent chapters, meat is added to the bones of this narrative, until it becomes a living, breathing creature. Read more.
The 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.
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