Review: Following Tommy by Bob Hartley

Following Tommy by Bob Hartley is a gem of a book: hard, brilliant and valuable. It tells the story of Jacky O’Day, a bookish teen who lives in a changing Irish neighborhood in 1962 Chicago with an alcoholic father and a troubled older brother, Tommy. All of them live in the devastating aftermath of theContinue reading “Review: Following Tommy by Bob Hartley”

Book review: ‘A War of Frontier and Empire’

First published: Sunday, October 7, 2007, in the Albany Times Union As President Bush tries to shape his legacy in regards to the Iraq war, he should pick up David Silbey’s engaging history “A War of Frontier and Empire: The Philippine-American War, 1899-1902” (Hill and Wang; 272 pages; $26). Though both were wars of choice,Continue reading “Book review: ‘A War of Frontier and Empire’”

Book review: Banana Yoshimoto’s ‘Hardboiled & Hard Luck’

The review originally appeared in September 2005 in the Albany Times Union. Supernatural is a natural in ‘Hardboiled’ Banana Yoshimoto became a literary sensation in Japan with her first book, “Kitchen,” in 1987. Spare prose, novella-length stories and quirky characters combined to make difficult themes, such as sexual identity and death, easily accessible and emotionallyContinue reading “Book review: Banana Yoshimoto’s ‘Hardboiled & Hard Luck’”

Book review: Umberto Eco’s ‘The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana’

This review originally ran in May 2005 in the Albany Times Union. Memory, identity evaporate in ‘Queen Loana’ Among life’s great chores is the sorting through of old papers, books, records and magazines long ago left in the attic. Few events combine such tedium with unexpected moments of rich nostalgia, in which a single imageContinue reading “Book review: Umberto Eco’s ‘The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana’”

Book review: ‘Ash’ by Holly Thompson

This review originally appeared in the March 2002 edition of Multicultural Review. Ash Thompson, Holly. Ash. Berkeley, Calif.: Stone Bridge Press, 2001. 292 pp. ISBN 1-880656-65-5, $16.95.   Thompson excels in her first novel at making Japan, from the volcanic-ash strewn streets of Kagoshima to the temples around Kyoto, accessible while conveying her protagonist’s “rootlessContinue reading “Book review: ‘Ash’ by Holly Thompson”

Book review: ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay’

This review was originally published in May 2001 in the Albany Times Union. Wonder boys in Gotham City: Vivid characters inhabit Michael Chabon’s ‘Kavalier & Clay’ Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” is a generous journey through the rise and fall of the Golden Age of comic books. ItContinue reading “Book review: ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay’”

Book review: Harry Frankfurt’s ‘On B.S.’

The following book review originally appeared in the July 31, 2005, edition of the Albany Times Union. A recent op-ed in The Washington Post by Fareed Zakaria called “The unbearable stench of Trump’s B.S.” references the book in describing the extreme lack of concern for the truth in statements from the Republican presidential candidate. The book,Continue reading “Book review: Harry Frankfurt’s ‘On B.S.’”

Review: City of Mirrors a satisfying conclusion to The Passage Trilogy

Seriously, don’t read this if you don’t want spoilers. It’s been six long years since “The Twelve” (which came out only two years after “The Passage”), so don’t let this review spoil your own anticipation. OK? Got it?