Bee Ridgway: Finding The River

Interviews, Reviews

Bloom

by Nicole Wolverton

1.
As a kid I loved anything to do with time travel. One of my favorite movies was Time Bandits. I loved Madeleine L’Engle’sA Wrinkle in Time. Later, I fell in love with Slaughterhouse-Five: if there was ever a patron saint of time-travel-related existential angst, it would be Kurt Vonnegut. It is impossible to imagine how often I contemplated his words about time: “It is just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.” Who hasn’t wished it were true, that time isn’t linear? At the heart of every time travel novel, from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children to The Time Traveler’s Wife, is the wish to return to the past to make the present a better place, and that is…

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Book Review: Final Appearance by Stephen Stark

Reviews

A shark attack, a starlet in hiding, a mysterious black box. The opening pages of Stephen Stark’s The Final Appearance of America’s Favorite Girl Next Door have all the makings of a Hollywood page turner, but the novel’s style places the author in a far more literary league.

The novel is a hefty one in terms of content as well as form. Weighing in at well over 600 pages (in 12 pt. Garamond, no less!), The Final Appearance of America’s Favorite Girl Next Door touches on a wide range of topics — show business, fame, predestination, love, reality, lucid dreaming, and standup comedy, to name just a few. To tackle these subjects, Stark offers the reader Ellen Gregory, a thirty-something standup comic turned TV superstar whose recent run-in with a murderous stalker leaves her questioning everything about the world she’s grown used to. That her world consists largely of hype and rumors only complicates matters for the increasingly cagey celebrity.

Ellen’s Hollywood narrative alone would certainly provide enough material for a provocative examination of fame and its trappings, but Stark sweetens the deal by adding virtual reality to the mix. Shortly after escaping from the confines of her successful sitcom, Ellen falls for a computer programmer whose experiments have opened a doorway into a mysterious dimension that isn’t quite real but is, in some ways, more real than real. When Michael falls prey to a vicious attack, Ellen’s world turns upside down, and her entire world — not to mention her sense of self — goes up for grabs.

Stylistically, Stark’s writing evokes a diverse range of contemporary authors. From the more “literary” camp, there’s Jennifer Egan and Don DeLillo, while the elements of science-fiction present in the novel call to mind William Gibson’s interest in virtual reality and Jamil Nasir’s examination of lucid dreaming in The Houses of Time. Complex, ambitious, and genre-bending, The Final Appearance of America’s Favorite Girl Next Door is a philosophical page turner that dares to ask what it means to really know someone.

Review by Marc Schuster

The Awful Possibilities (via Small Press Reviews)

Reviews

The Awful Possibilities Christian TeBordo’s sometimes maddening, frequently ingenious, and always engaging collection of short stories hits the ground running with a tale of an aborted school shooting, swerves through a series of bizarre encounters among what can only be described as mentally disturbed individuals, and slams head-on into the first-person account of a young girl who’s fallen in with a gang of kidney thieves. To put it bluntly, TeBordo’s take on life — a … Read More

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Designs on Him (via Small Press Reviews)

Reviews

Designs on Him Jill DiGiovanni’s debut novel, Designs on Him, places the author on equal footing with such better-known commodities in the “chick lit” genre as Sophie Kinsella and Jennifer Weiner. The novel follows the efforts of thirty-year-old Noel Kingsley at maintaining a successful career in interior design while simultaneously trying to find that most-elusive yet ironically ever-present of the genre’s chimeras: the perfect man. What she finds instead is w … Read More

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Everyone Loves Elwood: A True Story (via ) Small Press Reviews

Reviews

Everyone Loves Elwood: A True Story As Jonathan Swift once said, every dog must have his day, and for one dog, that day is immortalized in Karen Quigley and Loren Spiota-DiMare’s charming children’s book Everyone Loves Elwood: A True Story. The story centers on Elwood, a dog once deemed too ugly for his breeder to sell. Fate, however, steps in for Elwood, and he’s eventually adopted by someone who loves him not despite but because of his unique appearance. That Elwood has a heart o … Read More

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