A Paradox of Praise: Arthur Smith's The Fortunate Era, by Andrew Najberg

If one photographed an arrow in flight with a fast enough shutter speed to prevent blurring, one would be unable to determine from the photo whether or not the arrow was moving. This raises a crucial question: is the arrow the arrow in flight or the arrow frozen in a moment? When Aristotle refuted Zeno of Elea's paradox by arguing that time did not exist in discrete moments, he lived in a world without high-speed cameras.

Swirling Memory, Magnetic Force: A Review of Sandy Florian's Boxing the Compass, by Kelly Lydick

Memory is elusive. It twists and turns, tangles and infiltrates; it shifts and moves smoke-like and foggy; it is the lens through which we see. It was Einstein who believed that “Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today’s events.” Carl Jung who once said: “The pendulum of the mind oscillates between sense and nonsense, not between right and wrong.” And, Kierkegaard, who thought: “Life can only be understood backwards; but must be lived forwards.”

Entwining Presence and Language: A Review of HR Hegnauer’s Sir, by Jennifer K Dick

          Dear Sir,

          I am trying on narration, and this is what it feels like: a pocket of
          red string.

          —HR Hegnauer, Sir, page 78.


When Absence is Presence: A Review of Jac Jemc's My Only Wife, by Jessica Treat

The wife in My Only Wife, Jac Jemc’s debut novel published in a beautiful edition by Dzanc Books, is never named. Nor is the husband who had been married to her for ten years and has been enduring her departure, conjuring her presence, for the last five. She is “my wife” or “she,” but mostly “my wife.” The repetition underscores both the need for possession (my) and the wife’s (anyone’s?) essential unknowability.

Handle with Care: A Review of Chris Ware's Building Stories, by Michael Mejia

At a time when traditionally published books seem to be fighting a losing battle with e-books over an already slim market share and exciting small presses are popping up everywhere, like mushrooms, reeling off an astounding number and variety of hardcopy titles (as well as e-books and PDFs), and online journals, zines, blogs, and social networking sites are posting a profusion of content and comment, it seems very hard to believe that the book has reached some kind of fatal horizon. This is a moment of significant transformation, perhaps, of hybridization, evolution even, but death? No.

Brave New Poem: A Review of Elaine Equi's Click and Clone, by Amy Gerstler

“I wanted to leave a portal open between fantasy, the virtual, and the real world, so they could mix and mingle. At the same time, I also wanted to write specifically about some of the ways technology has destabilized our old way of life.” 
Elaine Equi, in conversation with Greg Purcell, on Click and Clone.

“Work to abolish
the most abject poverty of all—

That of knowing
only one world.”
—from “Manifesto” by Elaine Equi


Ambient Parking Lot

Pamela Lu’s Ambient Parking Lot, described on the book’s back cover as “part fiction, part earnest mockumentary,” details the career of a group of musicians dedicated to recording and performing the ambient noise found in parking lots and structures, a group who “championed authentic experience and plunged headlong into the romance of the overlooked space” (Lu 32). The novel, largely told from the first-person plural point-of-view of the band, is a smart and lyrical document of an imagined avant-garde, a sort of Spinal Tap for conceptual music fans.

Shira Dentz

Welcome to DB 18’s review section! Whether you’ve read the books reviewed here or haven’t had the chance yet but are familiar with their authors—or are just interested in seeing what’s going on—my bet is that you will be mega stimulated by the portals these reviewers/travelers open up (as I was). Enjoy reading Amy Gerstler on Elaine Equi, Michael Mejia on Chris Ware, Kelly Lydick on Sandy Florian, Jennifer K. Dick on HR Hegnauer, Jessica Treat on Jac Jemc, and Andrew Najberg on Arthur Smith.