REVIEW: MANDELBROT THE MAGNIFICENT, BY LIZ ZIEMSKA (2017)

I've read plenty of alternate histories, but I think this is the first alternate biography I've ever come across. Benoit Mandelbrot was a real person--a brilliant mathematician who, as the NYT review for his posthumous memoir put it, "coined the term 'fractal' to refer to a new class of mathematical shapes that uncannily mimic the … Continue reading REVIEW: MANDELBROT THE MAGNIFICENT, BY LIZ ZIEMSKA (2017)

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REVIEW: A SKINFUL OF SHADOWS, BY FRANCES HARDINGE (2017)

Makepeace's nightmares are not like other people's. She dreams of spectral figures trying to claw their way through the window, inside her bedroom, inside her head. For Makepeace (who is twelve) has a strange gift: she has "extra space" inside her that can be inhabited by extra souls, and the souls of the dead--who want … Continue reading REVIEW: A SKINFUL OF SHADOWS, BY FRANCES HARDINGE (2017)

REVIEW: MCGLUE, BY OTTESSA MOSHFEGH (2014)

Ottessa Moshfegh does not seem to have a very high opinion of human beings. And she's also very much interested in bodily functions. Her stories are peopled with horrible people doing disgusting things. And McGlue is no exception. The titular character is a sailor who may or may not have murdered his best friend, another sailor … Continue reading REVIEW: MCGLUE, BY OTTESSA MOSHFEGH (2014)

REVIEW: THE HISTORY OF BEES, BY MAJA LUNDE, TRANSLATED BY DIANE OATLEY (2015)

Sichuan, 2098. Hundreds of silent workers, clad in beige, balance on the fragile branches of pear trees. They hold a plastic container in one hand, a brush in the other. The plastic container contains pollen, carefully weighed out. The brush is made out of the feathers of hens bred specifically for this purpose. Each worker … Continue reading REVIEW: THE HISTORY OF BEES, BY MAJA LUNDE, TRANSLATED BY DIANE OATLEY (2015)

BOOK REVIEW: THE SILENT COMPANIONS, BY LAURA PURCELL (2017)

It's 1866. Elsie Bainbridge is a patient at St Joseph's Hospital for the Insane. She's barely survived the fire that destroyed her home of the last several months. The home that the inhabitants of the nearest village keep well away from. And where, before the fire, four people died under mysterious circumstances. Could Elsie have … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: THE SILENT COMPANIONS, BY LAURA PURCELL (2017)

BOOK REVIEW: THE ESSEX SERPENT, BY SARAH PERRY (2016)

I should have loved The Essex Serpent. Instead, I just liked it. Sarah Perry's second novel follows a bunch of eccentric characters in late Victorian England as they embrace or resist the massive changes sweeping society and culture at the time--including the rise of socialism, evolutionism, and atheism. These characters include: Cora Seaborne, a young widow … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: THE ESSEX SERPENT, BY SARAH PERRY (2016)