In the latest installment of KNAU's Southwest Book Review, we go back 20 years to the first novel by Arizona-based writer Alfredo Vea, Jr. Set in the desert town of Buckeye in the late 1950's, La Maravilla tells the story of Beto, a young boy torn between his love and fear of living in different worlds - both real and mystical. According to our book reviewer Mary Sojourner, Vea uses the Sonoran desert as a powerful measure of time.
Pale Harvest is the breakout novel by writer Braden Hepner. Set in Utah's high desert in the 1970's, it explores themes of extinction; extinction of small towns, family and self. In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, Mary Sojourner says Pale Harvest is a powerful story of harshness and healing.
In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, the reviewer - Mary Sojourner - becomes the reviewed. Sojourner's latest novel 29 has just been released. It tells the story of Nell Walker, a woman navigating a cycle of despair after losing her heart - and her job as a high-powered corporate executive - all at once. She flees Los Angeles and ends up in the small desert town of Twenty Nine Palms in a battle against energy developers who are threatening sacred lands. Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris spoke with Mary Sojourner about blending her passions for writing and environmental activism into the pages of 29.
"Flood Song" is the second book by writer Sherwin Bitsui. The collection of post-modern poems is both lyrically fragmented and linguistically stunning and combines the author's experiences living on and off the Navajo Nation, where he was born. In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, commentator Mary Sojourner says "Flood Song" is a gorgeous collision of images.
Ann Cummins’ 2007 novel “Yellowcake” is set in the uranium country of northern Arizona and New Mexico. In the book, the Flagstaff-based author presents two families struggling with the complex fallout of the mining life. In KNAU’s latest Southwest Book Review, Mary Sojourner says “Yellowcake” is a compelling work by an author who captures humanity at its most personal level.
Cold Deck is the latest novel by Nevada-based writer H. Lee Barnes. Set in Las Vegas, it chronicles the life of a single father, struggling to raise his children and keep his life from spiraling out of control in "Sin City". In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, Mary Sojourner says Cold Deck is poignant, gritty and kept her reading well into the night.
It's hard to put a label on author Pam Houston's books. The prize-winning writer blends together fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Houston will be in Flagstaff this weekend headlining the Northern Arizona Book Festival. In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, writer Ann Cummins reviews Houston's latest novel, Contents May Have Shifted, the true story of an imaginary character named Pam Houston.
Colorado Book Award winner Steven Schwartz has said that in a fast-paced world "fiction restores us" to a softer place in our lives. Schwartz has just published his third short story collection, Little Raw Souls. And in KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, writer Ann Cummins calls the collection "a gem".