Serena, by Ron Rash I’d hoped this book would be the knockout American novel I’d been looking for—full of social content, great characters acting out a great story amid a magnificent scenic backdrop. Three out of four ain’t bad. The story is one of typical American enterprise, unleavened by responsibility. Rash—perhaps North Carolina’s best writer […]Read More A Fine Work Falls Only a Few Yards Short of Greatness
This past week a creative writing teacher-friend of mine wrote me about a student of hers who had signed a book of his to a university press, only to discover that the mom-and-pop book stores were refusing to accept his book because of the deep discount the press was asking for. What gives? my friend […]Read More Is It Time To Publish Digital?
Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout Elizabeth Strout has concocted in this book a series of thirteen short stories, eponymously connected to the title character. Let me begin by giving you something akin to the one page synopsis that agents and publishers ask from aspiring writers: Elizabeth enters from Crosby, Maine-first and foremost, as it turns […]Read More On Passing Literary Muster
The Secret Scripture, by Sebastian Barry It surprised me on first hearing that personal testimony in court cases is no longer considered reliable. But once I’d read on the subject and put myself though comparable memory tests, I became a believer. Sebastian Barry, an Irish playwright and author with a Man Booker nomination to his […]Read More Irish History Through a Lens Darkly
A few writing friends of mine, probably frustrated by the lack of industry response to their capable writing, have decided of late to involve themselves in MFA programs – to up their skills, as well as their visibility in the writing profession. Recently, one of these friends, one who labors under the burden of a […]Read More MFA, Critique, and The Ethics of Writing