Book Review

Commentary
5:00 am
Mon December 3, 2012

Book Review: Life Among Giants

In terms of setting and mood, Bill Roorbach’s novel Life Among Giants contains no shortage of creative derring-do. It largely takes place in the 1970s, when the Miami Dolphins ruled the National Football League. In fact, the narrator of the novel, David “Lizard” Hochmeyer, spends time in a Dolphins uniform as a backup quarterback to Bob Griese.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Book Review: May We Be Forgiven

I chose this book for its cover. Gelatinous cranberry sauce, still holding its can-shaped form on a white plate. It screamed Thanksgiving.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Book Review: The Art Forger

On March 18, 1990, a pair of thieves disguised as police officers stole 13 works of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Mass. Among the stolen were works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas and Manet. Unsolved to this day, the heist provides the perfect backdrop for The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Book Review: The News From Spain

While you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, the illustration on the cover of the The News from Spain by Joan Wickersham is somewhat telling of what's inside. A single red ribbon on a black background ties each of the stories together through theme and repeated phrases. The ribbon flows with no bows or knots, bleeding off the page. Similar in design, these stories are not wrapped in tidy packages. Sometimes they begin with no introduction and end abruptly, leaving the reader to speculate about what will happen next.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Book Review: Telegraph Avenue

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon is set in Northern California, where Berkeley and Oakland meet. It’s 2004, and business partners Archy and Nat have just learned that a former NFL quarterback plans to open a music superstore in their shared hometown, placing their used record store in jeopardy. Midwife-partner wives, philandering husbands, and never-before-mentioned children add to the drama.

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Commentary
5:00 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Book Review: Léon and Louise

Set in France beginning in 1918, Léon and Louise is the love story of two teenagers who meet as World War I is drawing to a close. Separated during a German artillery attack, each is severely wounded and believes the other to be dead.

10 years later, both are living and working in Paris. They catch a glimpse of each other on passing metro trains. Léon is married now with small children, but his wife encourages a search for Louise, knowing that their marriage can’t move forward while Léon’s heart remains in the past.

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Commentary
3:35 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

Book Review: Lionel Asbo: State of England

Although Martin Amis’s new novel, Lionel Asbo: State of England, has received mixed reviews, it would be hard to argue that it lacks vividly drawn characters, a compelling storyline, or distinctive prose. Perhaps the legitimate complaint is that the title character, Lionel Asbo, falls a bit short on charm.

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Commentary
8:31 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Book Review: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving

Being a parent can be a thankless job. Jonathan Evison explores the parent/child relationship in his new novel, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. Through the intersecting lives of his characters, he challenges the definition of a “good” parent.

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Commentary
8:18 am
Mon August 13, 2012

Book Review: The Family Corleone

In his novel The Godfather, Mario Puzo used his life in New York, his penetrating imagination, and some kind of exotic material for polishing prose to reveal the world of the Mafia. In that world, the reader observes the coming of age of Michael Corleone, as he reluctantly confronts his complicated fate as a gangster. This leads him down the path to self-betrayal.

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Commentary
10:35 am
Mon July 30, 2012

Book Review: Evel Knievel Days

Pauls Toutonghi has a way with words. He writes about the unique circumstances surrounding smart, quirky, and loveable characters. At Watermark, we found his first novel, Red Weather, so endearing that we named a sandwich after it. Toutonghi’s newest book, Evel Knievel Days, features a protagonist named Khosi Saqr from Butte, Montana—Evel Knievel’s hometown. Khosi is an obsessive-compulsive Egyptian-American trying to find his identity. Well, half of his identity, anyway.

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