Tag Archives: fiction review

The Autumn 2014 Edition of The Fox Chase Review is Now Available

Autum 2014 Cover

The Autumn 2014 Edition of The Fox Chase Review is now live on line. We are pleased to present the following poets and writers.

Poetry by: Charles Carr, Bibhas Roy Chowdhury/Kiriti Sengupta, Noah Cutler, Emari DiGiorgio , James Guth, Ben Heins, David Livewell, Maria Massington, Laren McClung, Kelly McQuain,  Robert Milby,  John Richard Smith,  Changmin Yuan,  Jason Wright

Fiction by: Dennis Lawson and Danny Johnson

www.thefoxchasereview.org

Thanks to our staff: Poetry Editor Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, Fiction Editors Russell Reece and Robert Hambling Davis and Web Editor Katie Reutter.

Celebrity Chekhov By Ben Greenman

chekcoverPaperback: 205 pages

Publisher: Harper Perennial (October 5, 2010)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0061990493

ISBN-13: 978-0061990496

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Reviewed by Stephen Page.

The first thing a reader may think when he picks up this book and begins reading it is “why?”  I say “why not?”  In Celebrity Chekov Ben Greenman updates a selection of Anton Chekhov’s short stories and replaces the characters in the stories with contemporary celebrities. Is this satirical? Yes. Funny? Hilarious.  Greenman and Chekhov’s talents as writers can account for all this. Greenman doesn’t just update the stories and replace this character for that character—Greenman rewrites the stories, re-establishes them, revives them.  Why not bring to the present great short stories from the past?  People have been updating Shakespeare on stage and on film, quite successfully I might add, for decades, if not longer. And Shakespeare is supposed to be, quote, “timeless” and “immortal,” as is Chekhov.  Yes, some great writing does wear longer than other writing, due to the ability of the author to create recognizable characters drawn from inherited human behavior, and some writing stays popular due to the writer’s ability to create empathic situations created by said characters, but I say nothing is immortal or timeless.  Consider just how many years ago Shakespeare lived, or even how many ago Chekhov lived, and compare those numbers with how long ago modern Homo sapiens first appeared on earth, and compare that amount of time with how long the earth has been around, and compare that amount of time with how long the universe has been around, and compare that to.  .  .  well, you get it. Right?   Finally has anyone reading this taught high school or had a teenager in his or her home?  How many of those teenagers love to see a Shakespearean play set in Shakespearean settings? Not many, and of course it depends on their socialization, and, well, furthermore . . . getting back to my main point, “why not?”

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You can find the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Celebrity-Chekhov-Stories-Anton-P-S/dp/B005DI9VUE

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stephen-in-the-countryStephen Page is from Detroit, Michigan.  There he worked in factories, gasoline stations, and steel-cutting shops.  He always longed for a vocation associated with nature.  He now lives in Argentina, teaches literature, ranches, and spends time with his family. http://stephenmpage.wordpress.com/

 

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The Dirty Life By Kristin Kimball

the Dirty Life book CvrPublisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (April 12, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416551611
ISBN-13: 978-1416551614
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Reviewed by Stephen Page
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            A successful freelance writer with a degree from Harvard lives on the trendy Upper East Side of New York (OK, so she lives in a walkup across the street form the Hells Angels main headquarters building—but the area is becoming popular for aging preppies, so rent and property prices are rising).   She gets a hack job from a magazine editor to drive out to small plot of land just past the Big Apple’s suburbs to interview an educated neo-hippie who is running an organic farm.  The man avoids her when he can, gives her errands to do when he can’t, and just generally bosses her around and treats her like trash for three days, until she finally stands her ground and corners him as he is running from one of his thousand daily chores to another of his thousand daily chores, and she demands as she points a finger at him, “Look, are you going to give me the interview or not?”  He stops in his tracks, chuckles, looks deeply and respectfully into her eyes, and says “yes.”  In the ensuing interview, while they are pulling the entrails out of a freshly slaughtered pig, she falls in love with him and he falls in love with her.  For the next several years they build a life together while struggling to keep an organic farm viable.
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            In the memoir Dirty Life, Kristin Kimball shows the reader that “pastoral” and “bucolic” have different connotations—and that neither word is synonymous with “idyllic.”  Yet, for Ms. Kimball and her fiancé, privilege is perspective.  “Wealth” and “success” are subjective words which cannot be measured in meaning with a pop-culture ruler, but rather with how one lives life.
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            Once you get past the first page of romance-novel description, The Dirty Life is an outstandingly written book.  If you are like me, when I am reading a book that I love, whether it be for its content, plot, voice, characters, or style (and in this case, all of the preceding), you don’t want to finish the book.  When you find yourself arriving toward the end, perhaps the last fifth of the book, you procrastinate, continually finding excuses to not read more than a few pages at a time because you don’t want the beauty of the story or the magic of the story telling to end.  This is one of those books.
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Check out the book here:
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kimballkristin author photoAbout Kristin Kimball:
I was born in 1971, and grew up in central New York. I graduated from Harvard in 1994, then moved to New York City, where I worked at a literary agency, taught creative writing, and freelanced for magazines and travel guides. In 2002, I interviewed a wingnut farmer named Mark, and took more than a professional interest in both him and his vocation. We founded Essex Farm together in 2004 – the world’s first full-diet CSA, as far as we know – and I’ve been professionally dirty ever since. Mark and I have two daughters, and I have three great jobs: mother, farmer, and writer. I stink at returning email. Please contact Simon& Schuster Speakers Bureau for information on talks and appearances.

Since the publication of The Dirty Life, I’ve written for O Magazine about what it’s like to change your life completely; for Vogue on physical work, and for Gourmet Live on all sorts of farm and food related subjects (The Pigs Are Alright, A Corny Story, Tales of Terroir, Three Things Every Ethical Eater Needs To Know). Food & Wine featured us here, the Burlington Free Press here, and for the francophones out there, Alix Girod de l’Ain Laffont wrote about us here, in French Elle.
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Stephen Page in front of wheat photoStephen Page was recently ranching and farming during a sabbatical from teaching world literature. He loved learning the cow-to-calf and the seed-to-harvest businesses even though he discovered first-hand that bucolic and pastoral are not synonymous with idyllic. He did however, after a long debate with the owner of the ranch, manage to keep a portion of the land fallow at all times as a moral obligation to the people of the world’s people and the Earth’s environment.

Blossom By Donigan Merritt

Blossom Book CoverHardcover: 404 pages
Publisher: AuthorHouse (August 17, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1463441398
ISBN-13: 978-1463441395
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Reviewed By Stephen Page
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So, I’m in Brazzaville, right? And I’m in this canoe, and this local is paddling me up the river between Congo and Zaire, when all of a sudden this hippo surfaces right next to the canoe, and then another surfaces, and another, and I think I’m gonna die, right, and one of the hippos opens his mouth right next to my elbow, and I stand up and I rip my cell phone from its holster to call home to tell Mom I love her, but when I look down at the phone I notice it’s connected to the net and it’s opened to this webpage entitled Random Literary Blogging, and there’s this blurb about a book entitled Blossom, and I start reading it and I forget about the hippos, and everything is fine, and I’m floating up the river right past those hippos and I’m feeling great and the reading is interesting, and the blurb has a link to read a preview of the novel, and I’m reading that and I’m still floating up the river and I’m still standing up in the canoe and I discover that Blossom is a book concerning the injustices of racial prejudice, and that if takes place in Arkansas, and that reading the story makes me feel that literature is still alive, that the novel is not dead, so I order a copy of the book on-line and as soon as I press the “buy” button, the local paddling the canoe turns the canoe hard to the right toward the shore and rams into the muddy bank and I am flung forward and I do a flip in the air but I land on my feet in thick mud and look back at the local who was padding the canoe but he just smiles and points behind me so I turn around and trudge my way up this slippery plant-overgrown trail and find my friend, who works with orphaned gorillas, waiting for me at the edge of the jungle and we go off to save some orphans. Oh, yes, I bought the Kindle version of the book, but I noticed I could have purchased the hardcover or softcover versions also.
Colonia, UruguayDonigan Merritt was born in southwest Arkansas in 1945, and left home at the age of seventeen. He has worked as a journalist, scuba diver, fishing boat captain, sailing instructor, and university professor. He has a BA and MA degree in philosophy; the BA is with Honors from Simpson College, the MA is from the Claremont Graduate School. He also has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writers Workshop. His first novel, One Easy Piece, was published by Coward-McCann in 1981. Since then, he has published seven novels, the most recent: “The Love Story of Paul Collins,” published by B&B Books, 2012. Mr. Merritt is currently living in Mexico City
Donigan Merritt’s webpage: Donigan Merritt.
Stephn Page with Congolese Gorilla OrphanStephen Page holds two AA’s from Palomar College, a BA from Columbia University, and an MFA from Bennington College.  He is the author of The Timbre of Sand and Still Dandelions.  His Book Reviews have appeared regularly in the Buenos Aires Herald, Gently Read Literature, Classic Book Club, and the Fox Chase Review.  He is the recipient of The Jess Cloud Memorial Prize, a Writer-in-Residence with stipend from the Montana Artists Refuge, a Writer Fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, an Imagination Grant from Cleveland State University, and an Arvon Foundation Ltd. Grant. He lived in the Congo for one year.