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With Underworld, Don DeLillo proves himself to be a master of the long novel. Perfectly capturing the atmosphere of Cold War America, DeLillo's writing often made me feel as if I were living inside the story, breathing the same volatile air as its protagonist, Nick Shay. For an 827 page book, there were a couple parts I found tedious. However, I can stand behind Underworld with my all, for it is a hauntingly stark evocation of a half-century of American life. ~ Reviewed by Josh Cohen-Peyton
Yes. Just yes. Paul Auster's trilogy of unorthodox mysteries has entered that sacred place in my heart where only the holiest of holies, my favorite novels, repose. Psychologically disturbing, philosophically fascinating, and filled with ridiculously brilliant prose, I found myself in constant disbelief that this trinity could be that good. This does for books what Tarantion's Pulp Fiction did for film. It examines a form, here the mystery novel -- discusses it, inverts it, plays with all the tropes -- to unleash an entirely new beast that trumps everything else in the genre it sought to explore. ~ Reviewed by Josh Cohen-Peyton
Admittedly, I was first drawn to Schilthuizen's book by its beautiful cover. However, after just a few pages I found myself as much fascinated by the book's subject matter as I was with the cover. Schilthuizen hopes his readers will come away with an understanding that the rapidly expanding and multiplying urban centers around the world are as important to environmental studies as are forests, jungles, and deserts. After learning about all the ways in which various animals adapt to and, in fact, evolve in response to urban environments, I've become an ardent supporter of Schilthuizen's viewpoint. At times funny, gross, and shocking, this book will change how you look at nature. ~ Reviewed by Josh Cohen-Peyton
Small Country is the tragic story of a boy's childhood cut short by the Rwandan Genocide. In this one-of-a-kind take on the bildungsroman, the reader is given an intimate look at what life was like before the Genocide for Rwandans in both Rwanda and Burundi, where many Rwandans had fled long before the Genocide due to increasingly violent interactions among the two tribes occupying Rwanda, the Hutu and the Tutsi, and the Hutu-led government. The Genocide itself is relegated to just a few pages. The majority of the novel follows the formative years of Gabriel, a child of a French father and Tutsi mother, as he struggles to have a childhood amidst growing chaos. Hate crimes, political corruption, and familial disorder are all featured in Gael Faye's debut novel, but Gabriel's ingenuous first-person viewpoint makes all of this palatable without allowing for the significance of the events to be downplayed. I am looking forward to seeing what Gael Faye brings us next. ~ Reviewed by Josh Cohen-Peyton