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: ‘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”

Comfort food: Worthy curry tonkatsu found at long last

When I think of comfort food, this is one of the things I think of: Japanese curry tonkatsu. It’s somewhat spicy, savory, and crunchy, a pork-based meat-and-potatoes kind of dish (especially if the curry has potatoes in it) that is perfect for a winter dinner. This dish is usually served with shredded cabbage (which isContinue reading “Comfort food: Worthy curry tonkatsu found at long last”

Book review: Yasushi Inoue’s ‘Life of a Counterfeiter and Other Stories’

One of the dominant characteristics of Yasushi Inoue’s rhetorical style in “Life of a Counterfeiter and Other Stories” (Pushkin Press; 144 pages; $18) in is his use of “hedging” phrases, such as “for some reason,” “I’ll never know” and “I may simply be reading too much into things.” These phrases could be interpreted as creatingContinue reading “Book review: Yasushi Inoue’s ‘Life of a Counterfeiter and Other Stories’”

Book review: ‘1Q84’ by Haruki Murakami

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami My rating: 4 of 5 stars The Little People are Watching You “If something really existed, you had to accept it as a reality, whether or not it made sense or was logical. That was his basic way of thinking. Principles and logic didn’t give birth to reality. Reality came first,Continue reading “Book review: ‘1Q84’ by Haruki Murakami”

‘The Duck’ published in Barleby Snopes 12

Earlier this year, you may have been among the few hundred (OK, maybe thousand) people I bombarded with emails, posts and pleas to vote for my humble short story “The Duck” in Bartleby Snopes’ monthly fiction contest. The winner of each month’s contest is automatically included in Bartleby Snope’s semiannual print journal. Alas, despite allContinue reading “‘The Duck’ published in Barleby Snopes 12”

Early reviews of ‘The Duck’ are in

“Really enjoyed it!” — Professor Gina Occhiogrosso “It’s a great short story.” — Amy Biancolli, arts and culture writer “It’s got my vote.” — Tracy Ormsbee, senior editor for features at the Times Union “It’s a good story.” — my dad Read “The Duck” here: Vote for “The Duck” as the Story of theContinue reading “Early reviews of ‘The Duck’ are in”

Update: The Duck on Bartleby Snopes now live

UPDATE: Fresh new fiction from yours truly now live on Bartleby Snopes I just got a note from the editor of the online journal Bartleby Snopes that my short story, The Duck, will be going live online next week at So be on the lookout for the story AND be sure to stayContinue reading “Update: The Duck on Bartleby Snopes now live”