Publishers Weekly recently ran new reviews of James McManus' The Education of a Poker Player and Ray Gonzalez's Beautiful Wall.
On The Education of a Poker Player: "McManus tracks the tribulations of boyhood with ironic humor in the seven linked stories that make up this portrait of a feisty young Catholic boy in 1960s suburban Illinois. . . . This entertaining coming-of-age tale treads lightly on issues of guilt, opting instead to allow witty cultural references and a likable voice to carry the narrative. The title is catchy, but the most memorable scenes here don't involve much poker at all; the fun comes from discovering with Vince that sin (and life, thus far) can't always be measured in Hail Marys and Our Fathers."
On Beautiful Wall: "Gonzalez has established himself as a writer of place, specifically the American Southwest. His latest collection emphasizes the mutability of the region and of the very idea of home. Meditative poems sift through the desert's pluralistic cultures and traditions, thoroughly and radically resisting any simplistic division—in the manner of the U.S.-Mexican border—of the land, its history, and its people. . . . Though distinct, these tributes resonate with Gonzalez's poetry of place, offering intimate engagements with subject matter that has meant many things to many different people at many different points in time. Such layered dynamics are central in Gonzalez's poetics, where 'the riches of the city echo,/ like treason minus desire.'"
Click here for the full PW review of The Education of a Poker Player.
Click here for the full PW review of Beautiful Wall.
The Education of a Poker Player and Beautiful Wall are available at the BOA Bookstore.