Skip to content Skip to navigation

Fiction Reviews

What is your Emergency? : A Review by Susan Haley of Shandi Mitchell's "The Waiting Hours"

What is your Emergency?

The Waiting Hours, Shandi Mitchell. Viking, 2019. 

This very accomplished novel is by a Maritime writer I had never run into before, although she has written another, Under This Unbroken Sky, which I intend to read now.

The Waiting Hours is about emergency workers, and the “waiting hours” of the title, is the period during the depths of the night when, if anything happens, it is usually terrible.

Utopic, Coming-of-Age Story for Millennials

By Megan Kuklis
A Review of Darusha Wehm's The Home for Wayward Parrots (NeWest Press, 2018)

The Home for Wayward Parrots by Darusha Wehm is a charming novel that centres on the complicated lives of its many sweet characters. Exceptionally readable, the novel flows through the past and present of Brian “Gumbo” Guillemot’s life with such care that readers will not be able to put it down. This novel should be devoured in a single sitting.

Exploring Hellscapes and Grotesque Pathos 

By Zachary Alapi 

A Review of J.R. Helton’s Bad Jobs and Poor Decisions

J.R. Helton’s Bad Jobs and Poor Decisions (Liverlight 2018) accomplishes a unique feat: the weaving of social universality and cultural specificity. For Helton, that means a raw exploration of class, the most pressing and relevant issue we face, couched in the sounds and sights of 1980s Austin — the music, the drugs, the hustlers, and the grandiosity and pomp that only a state like Texas, in all its carnivalesque glory, can render both thrilling and morbid. As readers follow Jake Stewart, a burgeoning artist bent as much on self-destruction as producing great writing or visual art, as he navigates the bloated landscape of Ronald Reagan’s America. An undertone of paranoia and stasis infuses this wry and dark book with urgency and energy that even readers disconnected from the setting and era can feel. 

Don't Judge This Book By Its Title

By Zachary Alapi A Review of J.R. Helton's Drugs The subject matter of J.R. Helton’s Drugs (Seven Stories Press) might at first appear self-evident, but it is the combination of imbibed adventures, personal struggle, and the exploration of the effects various drugs have on the individual and his/her place in society that make this fictionalized memoir a layered, gripping read.