Book Review: The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto (Japan)

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson The Lake, the latest novel by well-known Japanese novelist Banana Yoshimoto, is an enigmatic love story told from the first-person perspective of Chihiro, a muralist and “going on thirty” daughter of unmarried parents. Chihiro’s unconventional childhood and the recent death of her mother contribute to her sense of isolation and unrest, and she spends hours staring out …

Book Review: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson As might be guessed from its title, one of the primary characters (14-year-old Skippy) dies within this novel’s first few pages. After that unexpected death, which interrupts a doughnut-eating contest between roommates, the narrative jumps backwards in time to cover the events leading up to that fateful event. Along the way, Skippy Dies touches on every imaginable component of …

Book Review: Rose Tremain’s Trespass

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson Beginning with the very first chapter, in which a young girl makes a shocking discovery in a creek while on a school field trip, Trespass overflows with foreboding and suspense.  The novel progresses in two alternating  story lines.  In one, an alcoholic man living in the Cévennes region of southern France is seduced by the money he …

Writing As Detective Work of the Soul

In Editorial & Opinion by Edward Nawotka

Editorial by Arthur Japin UTRECHT: In the mid-1980s, two actors went to Rome, hoping to land a part — any part — in a movie by the creator of La Dolce Vita, Federico Fellini. I was one of those actors. The other was my lifelong friend Rosita. Fellini fell in love with her, and in doing so changed the course …

Review: Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

In Book Review by Gwendolyn Dawson

By Gwendolyn Dawson In Colm Toibin’s latest novel, Brooklyn, young Eilis Lacey leaves the struggling economy of her small hometown in southeast Ireland to forge a new life in Brooklyn, New York. In unadorned prose, Toibin describes the daily struggles and triumphs of Eilis’s life in the unfamiliar, and often inhospitable, urban environment of her new home. In many ways, …