Tayari Jones’ Silver Sparrow is an engrossing novel about sisters and secrecy. Set in 1980s Atlanta, its focus is on a dysfunctional and disintegrated family. Our first narrator, Dana Yarboro, writes from an adult perspective about her childhood and teenaged years as the secret daughter of one James Witherspoon. Our second narrator, Chaurisse Witherspoon, is James’ daughter by his legally recognized wife Laverne. Jones uses her prodigious writing talents to create sympathetic and complex but very human characters as well as an intricate and compelling plot. The reader knows from early that a life-changing confrontation is in the making. This […]
I think a few Cannonballers reviewed the Monstress series last year, and when I saw volume one at the local comic book store, the art was so beautiful I decided to make the purchase. The art is truly stunning, a combination of anime and Art Deco (the blurb on the back says Art Deco, but I think it looks a bit Nouveau; maybe elements of both). The story itself is complicated and involves a variety of races of creatures that have a complex history together. At the center of the story is a teenaged female named Maika Halfwolf, who is […]
In the beginning was the world. And it was weird. The One Hundred Nights of Hero is Isabel Greenberg’s second graphic novel and, apparently, a spin off from her first The Encyclopedia of Early Earth. The tale, or rather tales, since this is a story involving some amazing storytellers, takes place in Early Earth, and Early Earth was itself created by a girl named Kiddo. Kiddo is the daughter of the god Birdman, who created and lords over many other worlds and galaxies, but once he sees that his daughter has made something, he butts in to “improve” it — […]
I love the concept of Joyce Carol Oates. I mean first of all the name! What a splendid name, intricate, commanding with a rhythm like a poem. Joyce Carol Oates cannot be anything other than a writer. And she churns out novels like she’s a novel factory turning sausages into full-blown novels over and over, doesn’t matter what genre, Joyce makes the sausage! But I didn’t like little bird of heaven. In fact it is my first DNF – something I did not anticipate after the first chapter that was delicious, rich and salacious (yes all those things). Here we […]
Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior (published in 1976) is known for its feminism and for giving voice to the experience of being first generation Asian American. It is an intersectional masterpiece that is part factual memoir and part “talk-story,” i.e., creative storytelling, not just about Hong Kingston’s childhood but also about her female relatives. Through these women, we see the juxtaposition of strength and powerlessness, of warriors and ghosts, of Chinese and Chinese-American. For Hong Kingston, being able to use one’s voice meant being able to keep one’s own life and sanity, which sadly was not possible for many […]
Angela Flournoy’s debut novel The Turner House garnered many awards, including National Book Award finalist (2015). It’s the story of the Turner family — Francis and Viola and their 13 children — over two generations and their life in the house on Yarrow Street in Detroit. When the novel begins, it seems that life in that particular home is about to end, and the Turner family is divided over how to handle this. Yet the house is not the only issue that confronts and divides this family. Through parallel storytelling, Flournoy reveals secrets about Francis’ and Viola’s past histories, the […]
Not actually a cozy mystery! I think this one is technically a thriller.
I might have to lay off cozies for a little bit. I didn’t highlight enough of this one for pull quotes, even.