Reviewed by Sylvia Sheffield, Library Technician, Natural Resources Library, NCSU Libraries
Mother of Sorrows is a novel (or perhaps a collection of short stories) about a gay man growing up in 1950s suburban America and then living as an adult during the AIDS crisis. Across this timespan we witness the narrator’s changing relationship to his family members and his sexuality. McCann is a poet as well as a novelist, and his prose is beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking; every word is intentional. I loved the way that his descriptions of the most mundane objects turned them into something meaningful.
Reviewed by Alex Carroll, Research Librarian for Engineering and Biotechnology, NCSU Libraries
This book was recommended to me by a friend as “The Things They Carried for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.” It’s an apt comparison: like O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, each chapter of Redeployment tells the story of a Marine at home or currently deployed. Beyond his keen eye for detail, Klay’s most impressive achievement is his construction of clearly distinct voices for his narrators that makes each chapter feel completely unique and deeply personal. At times tragic, at times farcical, and affecting throughout.
Book: The News From Spain
Author: Joan Wickersham
Reviewer: Dr. Angela Wiseman, Assistant Professor, Elementary Education
This book features seven short stories that focus on love and relationships among very different kinds of people at different times in history (in fact, two of the stories are based on prominent historical figures). The one strand that connects these stories together is that a phrase “the news from Spain” that emerges in each story. By using vivid descriptions, realistic characters, and true to life relationship contexts, I found myself drawn into complex and insightful stories.
Book: More Ghost Stories
Author: M. R. James
Reviewer: Robert St. Amant, Associate Professor, Computer Science
This collection contains one of my favorite stories of the supernatural, “Casting the Runes.” It begins with letters of regret to a Mr. Karswell, who responds badly to the rejection of his work on alchemy… In this collection, published exactly 100 years ago, the stories have an atmosphere perfectly suited to the events: “So he put his hand into the well-known nook under the pillow: only, it did not get so far. What he touched was, according to his account, a mouth, with teeth.”