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God Help the Child Among other things, Nobel Prize–winning author Toni Morrison's latest is about a mother who takes a lifetime to come to understand that "what you do to children matters. And they might never forget." Learn more | See related books
This book is the first in a series that combines fiction, verse, essays, and illustrations. I do not judge the attempt purely based on the achievement here, but look at the intentions and the apparent tendencies.
The verse is pleasant, and often witty and epigrammatic. There are serveral verses here that I liked, among them some by Rina Ilazi, Vitasta Raina, and Carter Kaplan. Kaplan, in particular, is clever about eschewing lyric utterance and writes verse of witty observation -- an approach that appeals to me and has a considerable tradition in English verse.
The stories are a grab bag, but they show flashes. The longish story by Michael Butterworth, "Das Neue Leben," is quite good indeed, and several of the other writers here show promise.
The essays were interesting, and I very much enjoyed the essay by Mr. Sylvester, and thought it explored some areas of existence that are very familiar but not often discussed.
Overall, I'm positively impressed by this maiden effort by editor Kaplan and the various writers and artists assembled here. I'd like to see some more substantial forays into longer fiction, but I suppose we'll find out. As it is, this first issue struck me as worth reading.
(This is a rehash of an earlier review that I wrote that was inexplicably taken down by Amazon.)
While I applaud the attempt at getting some lesser known author's names out there, some of these people are rarely heard of for good reason. Nicholaus Pacione's contribution is an unreadable word salad with no subtext or thrust. Carter Kaplan's own submission for this compilation is loaded with pointless phrases such as "He was not tall; neither was he short." He takes the longest route to say as little as possible, putting on a facade of literary glamour.