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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

When Stars Rain Down

I have a new sister-friend. Her name is Opal Pruitt. Like me, she is Black. She has an abiding love for her family and community, has an imagination that travels from the soil under her feet into the heavens, and a strong desire for justice and for true love. Our friendship transcends space and time—as […]

Never Far Away

The protagonist of Michael Koryta’s latest novel of mystery and suspense, Never Far Away, has two lives: the one she had to abandon, and the presently endangered one that she is desperate to extend into the future. Before, she was Nina Morgan, a mother, pilot, and witness to a crime. Because she could identify the […]

Indiana Nocturnes

When I first read Curtis Crisler and Kevin McKelvey’s remarkable collection of poetry, Indiana Nocturnes, I was a bit confused. We are informed at the back of the collection that the poets alternate poems in the odd sections of the book and feature solos in the even sections. Yet, the poems are not individually identified […]

The Complete Writings of Art Smith the Bird Boy of Fort Wayne

“You’ll Want It All To Be True” At first, you think the author Michael Martone is 100% serious in this faux biography about Art Smith, an early Fort Wayne aviator who invented skywriting.   Art Smith (think of a wordsmith with a plane) performs his skywriting stunts, flying for, over, and sometimes through major historic […]

The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland

As a child growing up in Indianapolis during the 1920s, John Bartlow Martin, later a noted freelance writer and political speechwriter, endured an unhappy childhood filled with family tragedies and setbacks, describing his Brookside Avenue home as living on “a mean street in a mean city.” One stark scene he retained into adulthood was the […]

All He Knew

Helen Frost has a way of carving out interesting characters and shaping deep, rich stories, using the cleverest of a poet’s tools. Her novels Salt and Keesha’s House have always been two of my favorite novels in verse, and her latest book, All He Knew, is another showcase of her master skills as a poet, […]

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 […]