Archives for August 2017

Ashley D. Black

Ashley D. Black is an assistant professor of English Education at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.  A native Alabamian, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Education at Troy University and a Ph.D. at the University of Alabama in Secondary Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning.  Although she is living in the Midwest, she will […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews DJ Donaldson, Author of “Assassination at Bayou Sauvage”

AM:  Thanks for doing this interview, Don, and congratulations on the publication of your latest in the Andy Broussard mystery series, Assassination at Bayou Sauvage.  How has this series developed over the years? DD: The first book, Cajun Nights, was a very strange story, partially because the editor at St. Martins, who ultimately bought it, asked me […]

“Riding on Comets,” by Cat Pleska

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Though her family was hardly perfect, Cat Pleska leaves readers feeling uplifted rather than grungy from being dragged through the dirty laundry in her memoir, Riding on Comets. In part, the warm tone results because she never doubted that her parents wanted the best for her. Without words, they implied that she […]

“Crum,” by Lee Maynard

Reviewed by Donna Meredith Even though the West Virginia town I grew up in is nothing—nothing—like the town of 219 residents Lee Maynard describes in his 1988 novel Crum, I related strongly to this coming-of-age story. The novel is now, deservedly, in its third printing through Vandalia/WVU Press. It is the first volume of a […]

“Fetish and Other Stories,” Second Edition, by Amy Susan Wilson

Reviewed by William Bernhardt Just when the cynics begin to wonder if the short story as a literary form is lost, moribund, or permanently encased in amber, The Balkan Press presents a collection that reminds us how rich, how enriching, and how truly American this form is. Fetish and Other Stories is the second edition […]

Allen Mendenhall Interviews Lorna Hollifield, Author of “Tobacco Sun”

AM:  Thanks, Lorna, for doing this interview.  The title of your debut novel is Tobacco Sun.  I want to ask you about that title, but first I want to quote from some opening lines of the book.  “Tobacco,” you say, “a strangely fragile, yet willful crop, desperate for survivorship, proved it could somehow adapt to […]

August Read of the Month: “Hopscotch,” by Steve Cushman

Reviewed by Claire Matturro Someone draws a hopscotch board on a sidewalk by a hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina. The hospital CEO with a Grinch persona orders it cleared off and a recently released felon, John Deaver, glad for his job as a janitor, erases it. But the chalk hopscotch board reappears on the sidewalk—again […]

“Following Truman Capote on the Island of Ischia, Italy,” by Susan Van Allen

Essay by Susan Van Allen  I’m standing on a balcony overlooking the port of Forio, on the island of Ischia, floating in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Naples. Sounds fancy, but it’s far from it. The port is fronted by a parking lot of taxis and Vespas, smooching teenagers, signoras strolling by with bags of […]