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Heather Abel packs so much good stuff into this hugely appealing novel exploring the grand themes of idealism and disillusionment. Set at a summer camp on Colorado's western slope before the outbreak of the Gulf War, Abel's young characters struggle with what it means to lead a meaningful life, how to care for and about a place of fragile beauty, how to navigate strong cultural differences, and how not to get caught having sex. A very thoughtful romp! ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
This is very strong fiction from a very gifted novelist. Set in London, Happiness deals with love (lost and found), the effects of trauma, immigration, urban foxes, hostage negotiation, Alzheimer's, dancing, and race relations. All of these elements are masterfully woven together in a story precipitated by the chance encounter of an American wildlife biologist and a Ghanaian psychiatrist. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
Mirza evokes with equal skill and nuance the specifics of the first and second generation immigrant experience, and the universal themes of family unity and discord. In A Place For Us she captures the complicated dynamics of one family's relationships with one another with astonishing insight. I found it tremendously moving in a way that only the most authentic stories and voices can be. The last seventy pages buckled my knees. How can a story about characters who in many ways are so unlike my own be so hauntingly familiar? ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
An American in Poland loses everyone he loves in a car accident. An unremarkable petty criminal is responsible but never caught. How do these two strangers go on with their lives--one consumed by grief, the other by guilt. This is page-turning literary fiction. Excellently crafted characters, propulsive narrative (plus a generous dose of suspense), sparkling prose. In a word--superb. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds
Part memoir– an Ozark childhood, a successful career in Manhattan, an entry-level baker's position in Vermont, and now, head baker at King Arthur Flour–and mostly recipes, this meandering baking book is full of traditional, beginning and advanced instructions. Biscuits and bagels and baguettes. Sourdough and cider bread. And pecan pie. For the passionate baker in your life. ~ Reviewed by Stan Hynds