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This is the kind of book you can imagine yourself savoring curled up next to a warm fire while the wind whistles outside. A woman living alone in a land ravaged by war and disease strikes a bargain with a handsome stranger to write and deliver a letter that he hopes will partially atone for his lawless, dissolute past. Scribe is a compact, hypnotically readable novel, seemingly culled from folklore and mysticism, that could serve as a model for how vital the element of story is to any work of fiction. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
The comfortable ordinariness of a couple's life on a farm is broken when a stranger arrives in the night and informs them that the husband has been selected as a candidate to be launched into outer space. He then moves into their home to prepare the bewildered man for the journey. Reading Mr. Reid's novels is a little like inching your way along a narrow ledge towards a window you are not sure will be open. The unusual premise of this one won't seem particularly odd to those who have experienced the author's I'm Thinking of Ending Things. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
Arthur Less has always lived in the shadow cast by his relationship with a brilliant poet. His measure as a writer has always been eclipsed by the stature of his lover. Less decides to accept invitations to a series of minor literary events around the world, because they provide a convenient excuse to avoid attending the wedding of another lover. Intermingling with people from other cultures, he regains a sense of his own value both as an individual and an artist. A dryly funny and immersive novel with a protagonist whose self-doubts will be very familiar to all of us. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
A young woman is certain that her relationship with an introverted scientist is destined for failure after meeting his parents at their isolated farm. During the trip back home, as a snowstorm increases in ferocity, she finds herself abandoned in a school where the sole occupant seems to be a tall, thin man who doesn't look at all friendly. This compact, cerebral thriller has a sly way of delving into the deepest of the reader's fears. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves
The Up Stairs Lounge was a popular gathering place for gay men in New Orleans in 1973, a time when the city dealt with homosexuals by pretending they were invisible. That ended when someone set a fire at the foot of the wooden stairway that led up to the crowded bar. The ensuing inferno killed 32 people and forced the entire nation to begin to confront the cruel marginalization, ignorance, and prejudice directed at the gay population. The societal ramifications of the tragedy marked an important milestone in the country's constant struggle towards a greater tolerance and respect for minorities. ~ Reviewed by Alden Graves