Skip to main content

Book Reviews

Looking to read more Indiana authors?

Every month, we’re releasing a book review highlighting a new book by a Hoosier author, reviewed by a Hoosier writer. Check back every month for a new recommendation or look for the review in your local paper.

All Book Reviews

Be Holding

For Ross Gay, a writer who embodies Lucille Clifton’s assertion that “you come to poetry not out of what you know but out of what you wonder,” a book-length poem is a thrilling vehicle. In Be Holding, Gay’s love of basketball—as a player and fan—finds a fitting muse in Julius “Dr. J” Erving. That he […]

The Way of Imagination

Scott Russell Sanders has always provided us with a way to look at the Ohio Valley, at Indiana and beyond, to make sense of what is around us, and that continues in The Way of Imagination, published this year by Counterpoint Press. Sanders is looking back at a full life lived in Bloomington, more personal […]

Library of My Hands

Library of My Hands by Joseph Heithaus begins like a medieval book of hours, with a richly illuminated capital letter. The introductory poem “Ode to the Letter A” addresses “Aleph’s child”—Aleph being the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, a letter signifying the oneness of God—and then draws forth a profusion of visual metaphors: “point, […]

The Town of Whispering Dolls

Wrong Russia; Wrong Russian: The “Realism” of Susan Neville’s The Town of Whispering Dolls “We don’t take our dissidents out to Duluth and shoot them,” William Dean Howells, editor at The Atlantic, wrote, arguing, at the dawn of the 20th Century, not only that American literature be “Realistic” but that it be a certain kind […]

You Should See Me in a Crown

High school senior Liz Lighty loves being in band, staying under the social radar, and—unbeknownst to all but her best friends—girls. It’s not that it’s a secret, exactly, it just…never really comes up. When financial aid for Pennington, her top-choice college, falls through, Liz voluntarily-but-unwillingly joins the popular crowd in their high school’s annual contest to be named prom queen. The crown comes with a $10,000 scholarship award—just enough cash to get […]

Where the Angels Lived

What does it mean to find the name of a relative you never knew existed?  What would it take to travel to another country to piece together a picture of that person’s life?  What would compel you to upend your, your husband and son’s life to learn about a person who never even appeared in a family photo album?  In Where […]

How Quickly She Disappears

Midwesterners are often characterized as stoic, polite to a fault, and hard workers who do anything they can not to draw attention to themselves. Enter Elisabeth Metzger Pfautz, known to her friends and husband as Else, the main character in Raymond Fleischmann’s debut novel, How Quickly She Disappears. Elisabeth was born and raised in Pennsylvania, a product of a small town and farming community […]

Indiana Hill Country Poems

Norbert Krapf deftly invites readers of his poetry to visit places personally important to him and to meet the people, past and present, with whom he has shared those locations. Within the carefully crafted lines of poetry in Indiana Hill Country Poems, his work repeatedly displays deep insight into the human condition, compelling a certain […]

The Lucky One

The missing stay missing, so they can’t report back, Lori Rader-Day writes on the first page of her excellent fifth novel, The Lucky One. And then she proceeds to report back for the missing, across 377 pages of intricately woven suspense. The Lucky One is very much a novel of contemporary concerns, and even contemporary […]

Wake Up, Woods

On the beautiful front cover of this book, a mouse sniffs along the edge, a caterpillar munches on a leaf, and a bee gathers pollen from a flower. Another flower remains closed, but you can almost see it begin to unfold its petals and open to the sun. Everything about the image—mouse, leaves, flowers, caterpillar and bee—invite the reader to open the book […]