Category: Contemporary literary fiction

  • Red clay, bad blood

    Valerie Nieman is a seasoned journalist, a novelist and a poet. She uses all those experiences and talents to good effect in this, her third novel. Originally from western New York State, Valerie Nieman teaches writing at N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, N.C.  She arrived in North Carolina via West Virginia, where she graduated…

  • Back on the mean streets

    Bob Moyer has been reading Walter Mosley’s new series again – with pleasure. By Robert Moyer WHEN THE THRILL IS GONE. By Walter Mosley. Riverhead Books. 368 pages. $26.95 Leonid McGill makes only his third appearance in Walter Mosley’s new series, but we’ve seen his kind before — the hard-boiled kind.  Short, stocky and deadly,…

  • A little magic to spice things up

    Sarah Addison Allen, whose novels of magical realism are deservedly popular, makes good use of her North Carolina heritage in her writing. She’s a proud Asheville native: She was born there, spent almost all her childhood there, graduated from UNC Asheville and lives there still in a house she inherited from a great-aunt. Her four…

  • Coffee and friendship in Kabul

    This book was a delight to listen to on CD, except for one thing – the primary setting is a coffeehouse in Kabul, Afghanistan, and I kept craving a really good cup of coffee whenever driving and “reading.” So far, I listen to audio books only when driving by myself. I know some people listen…

  • Mrs. Hemingway (No. 1) has her say

    This novel has already hit The New York Times best-seller list, and no wonder. By Linda Brinson THE PARIS WIFE. By Paula McLain.  Ballantine Books. 320 pages. $25. You might wonder why Paula McLain would write a novel about a subject that has been so thoroughly covered by other writers, but I am delighted that…

  • Death by incompetence

    Fellow displaced journalist Paul O’Connor (OK, OK, I fired him, but THEY made me do it) reviews a novel about the death of a newspaper. Just reading the review made me sad, but I think I’ll give the book a try anyway. By Paul T. O’Connor THE IMPERFECTIONISTS: A NOVEL.  By Tom Rachman. Dial Press.…

  • Mad sanity, or sane madness

    Steve Wishnevsky of Winston-Salem has unearthed a gem from a few years back. By Stephen Wishnevsky LAMB: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. By Christopher Moore. Harper, 2002. Available in various hardback and paperback editions. One of those books. Quite mad, and rather sane, a parable of parables, or a satire of satires,…

  • Michael Malone’s latest (I think), and editors or their lack

    Michael Malone, a North Carolina writer, is one of my favorite contemporary authors. He’s also one of the most frustrating. At times, he goes long stretches without publishing a novel. Somehow, when he does come out with a new novel, it takes me by surprise. Even though I’ve been a book-review editor for 25 years,…

  • Private Life

    Our latest review is by that gentleman and scholar, Robert Moyer of Winston-Salem. Here’s how Bob describes himself (I think it’s mostly true): Bob Moyer is a member of the National Book Critics’ Circle.  His haiku poetry has been published extensively, and may be seen frequently at Haiku News (wayfarergallery.net). He is a member of…