While open to reviewing a variety of titles, Farmer tends to be drawn towards recently translated works, novels by international authors, and books produced by small presses.
The following reviews have recently appeared in the Sunday edition of The Gazette:
It’s not often that a novel can be both a summer beach read and a complex work of literary fiction. But Broken River, the eighth novel by J. Robert Lennon is just that: a meditative work on the personal narratives we construct and the truths we refuse to see, as well as an unsolved murder mystery with perpetrators so bumbling they rival the best Dateline killers. Read full review
More reviews are available in the archive below
Cornet player Bix Beiderbecke wasn’t your average guy from Davenport as Brendan Wolfe explains in his academic work, “Finding Bix: The Life and Afterlife of a Jazz Legend,” out now from University of Iowa Press. Born in 1903 and raised in Davenport, Bix went on to be a contemporary of Louie Armstrong, a friend to Babe Ruth, and, according to critics and jazz fans, one of the most innovative soloists in America jazz music.
But writing a book about Bix Beiderbecke is a tall order for even the most astute researcher, because after dying gin-soaked in a run-down Queens apartment at the age of 28, Bix was beatified by colleagues and critics, making even the most basic facts of his life “purple” thanks to countless embellished retellings. Read full review
In “Not One Day,” out this month from Deep Vellum Press, Garréta puts her Oulipo credentials on full display, as the short book is an exercise in restriction and indulgence. To write “Not One Day” Garréta subjected herself “to the discipline of confessional writing.” The plan was to write for five hours a day for one month “aiming to recount the memory you have of one woman or another whom you have desired or who has desired you. This will be the narrative: the unwinding of memory in the strict framework of a given moment.” No consulting letters or journals. No drafting. Each woman is given one essay, one chapter. When read together several powerful juxtapositions emerge: the author’s distance and tenderness; passion and repulsion; truth and fiction. It’s all here, and more — in under 100 pages. Read full review