‘Still the Night Call’ by Joshua Senter

A row of trees is reflected by the sun to show their image in the water as well.

While America has been a politically divided country for over two centuries, the gap between America’s parties seems to grow wider as their values become more and more associated with a sense of an old and new America. Still the Night Call by Joshua Senter is an attempt to bridge that gap, or at the very least to encourage empathy for those standing on the other side.

Still the Night Call’s lead character Calem Honeycutt is a dairy farmer in the Ozarks of Missouri. When we meet Calem on page one at 4:30 AM, he tells us almost immediately about his plans to kills himself that night. Over the course of the day, we follow Calem as he works the farm with his father, attempts to reconcile his deep debt, and reveals to readers his struggle with depression. Through it all Calem is constantly linking his problems back to changing America, the corrupt politics of all parties, and the recognition of his own ineptitude at truly understanding things beyond the farm.

To illustrate many of these issues, Senter introduces us to a host of characters who are both like and unlike Calem. We meet Calem’s parents who are quintessential American traditionalists—Dad milking cows, Mom making breakfast. We meet Calem’s sister Caitlyn through memories and phone calls—the rebel who ran away to the city to live out her liberal dreams. Then we meet Calem’s friends and neighbors—people he loves and who have tried their best both to find happiness for themselves and for their families often by doing things like voting for Trump. Senter shows each of these people’s biases and the way they judge and define one another by their values and politics.

Calem time and again reminds readers that he is not your stereotypical red-American-farm-boy. He actually stands somewhere in the middle of the radically left and right people around him. Sure, Calem (like everyone in his community) voted for Trump in 2016 even though he thought Trump was incompetent and ridiculous. But Calem voted for Trump because Trump promised something no one else did: a return to the glory days of traditional America when farmers didn’t struggle the way they do now. Even though Calem believes in gay rights, abortion, and a host of other human rights issues we don’t often associate with Republican leaning individuals, he chose to vote for Trump to better his own life.oldjjj

Calem openly claims that he doesn’t understand the wider world. And part of that understanding Calem is missing is his own place in the world. Calem identifies with many marginalized groups in America including transgender people and women and can’t seem to understand how being a white man makes him anymore advantaged than a person of color or someone of a different gender. What Calem doesn’t understand is intersectionality. He hears chanting of “down with the patriarchy” and assumes everyone hates straight white men. Calem doesn’t have the education or bandwidth to step back from his own situation and examine the ways in which men have dominated American decision making since its founding and how problematic that is. There is some sense that if only Calem could have a wider experience of the world, he would see himself and his place in that world differently. Instead, Calem is deeply attached to his life and career and doesn’t want to experience change on the farm, in his community, or within the world at large.

Where our empathy for Calem is strongest is in his struggle with mental health. His inability to act, his inability to truly understand anyone else’s position but his own, seem all to tie back to his struggle with mental health. Another important issue that is covered in Still the Night Call is the stigmatization of mental health issues, especially among men. Caitlyn volunteers at a women’s shelter in the city, and Calem wonders if something like that exists for men, but Caitlyn quickly explains that men don’t seek help the way women do. So while the undeniable truth that being a white man in America gives you some sort of upper hand, we see the price that comes with: how we’ve raised so many of our boys into men who can’t ask for help, who need to achieve greatness, who can’t empathize and understand because they’re taught instead to get ahead, to hide weakness, and to never admit defeat.

Still the Night Call addresses all of these important issues and more. If you are a staunch liberal or a staunch conservative, your politics and values likely won’t change after reading Senter’s book, but it seems his hope is that at the very least you’ll gain some empathy and understanding for the other side. If nothing else, Still the Night Call highlights the way mental health affects people’s lives no matter their social status, gender, or political values.

Named best Indie Book of 2021 by Kirkus review, Still the Night Call by Joshua Senter is available for purchase at your local independent bookstore.

Read more fiction book reviews at Centered on Books.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.

‘City of Orange’ by David Yoon

The cover image of City of Orange by David Yoon is a futuristic scene of rolling neon orange hills.

David Yoon’s latest novel City of Orange has the feel of a post-apocalyptic novel with the emotional verve of true literary fiction.

City of Orange follows a nameless man who wakes up in a desert with a splitting headache and only echoes of memories of his former life. He knows he has a name, but he can’t remember it. He knows he had a daughter and wife, but he can’t remember their faces. He looks around him and he knows the world has ended. Our nameless protagonist must battle the heat, the barrenness, the unlivability of the desert, but most of all he must battle himself, his fractured memories, and the mystery of his own past. 

As City of Orange progresses, Yoon gives us more and more of his character’s past, what the world was like before the fall—until it becomes clear that something is missing. Suddenly, readers are whisked into an entirely unexpected turn of events as memories and events unravel to reveal a truth that seems all too obvious once revealed.

While the setting of City of Orange appears post-apocalyptic in nature, the narrative itself is pure literary fiction. Tackling topics of loss, the effects of social media and technology on mental health, and the complicated nature of our deepest relationships, Yoon accomplishes a difficult feat with City of Orange. A truly compelling story told in a truly compelling world will grab at the heartstrings of readers in this emotionally charged novel.

Slated for release in May 2022 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons, City of Orange by David Yoon is available for preorder from your local independent bookstore.

Read more fiction book reviews at Centered on Books.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.

Geographies of the Heart

Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie is a beautiful and all-too recognizable story about family, love, and aging.

Told as a series of short stories (some previously published as standalone pieces), Geographies of the Heart traces four generations of the Macmillan family. Each chapter or story is told from a different perspective, centering issues of viewpoint, empathy, and one’s personal history. Hamilton Summie illuminates through each character’s perspective how these elements inform the way a person acts, interacts, and responds to the challenges life throws at them. 

The main character of the three perspectives is Sarah Macmillan. We meet Sarah in a college coffee shop on a first date with a (maybe) great catch. We follow Sarah through breakups, her marriage to this same coffee shop date, the birth of her first child, the death of her grandparents, and through the challenges of navigating family relationships within and outside of these life events. Over the course of Geographies of the Heart, we also hear from her husband Al, her sister Glennie, and even a few others.

Hamilton Summie does a beautiful job of capturing not only the struggles of what it means to be a family, but also the most beautiful and touching pieces of that relationship. Even as someone who doesn’t have a sister, who hasn’t lost a grandparent in the same slow grueling way Sarah does, I found myself deeply connected to her character, her struggles, her constant questioning. Themes of forgiveness, remembrance, our connection to our past—however desirous or repelling to us— are only a few of the topics explored in Geographies of the Heart. Hamilton Summie also asks readers to question what responsibility in each of these contexts mean: who is responsible for initiating and accepting forgiveness, who is responsible for remembering and documenting a collective past that involves more that just one person, and who is responsible for the marks (for better or worse) left on a generation as they age? 

A thought-provoking and emotional read, Geographies of the Heart might especially call to you if you are a parent, a sibling, or have recently lost a loved one.

Published by Fomite Press in January 2022, Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie is available for purchase at your local independent bookstore.

Read more fiction book reviews at Centered on Books.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.

‘The Trayvon Generation’ by Elizabeth Alexander

The Trayvon Generation by Elizabeth Alexander is an honest and thought-provoking look at the insidious racial ideologies embedded in American culture. A poetic, passionate, and imperative read, The Trayvon Generation reveals truths, horrors, and the promise of a solution. 

Alexander chronicles the ways throughout history in which black people have been thought of as hardly human, pointing to these historical viewpoints as the basis from which we still understand race today. While the Constitution may not label a person of color as 3/5 of a human anymore, that sentiment still reigns in the minds of white America because of our history. We have been taught time and again that black people are not fully human, that black children are men (not boys), that black people themselves are to blame for the poverty, crime, and lack of education that plague so many of their communities. Alexander reminds us that black people were brought to this country as property, thought of as subhuman, and within that historical context have never regained the status of being fully human in the eyes of our culture at large.

While Alexander highlights so many truths in her book, one might ask, so what? We know this. How many books on race and racial inequities have been published in the past decade; how many have been lauded since the 2020 riots? And while my response would be “never enough,” I would also note that Alexander does something wholly different with The Trayvon Generation. She draws in poets, photographers, and black artists of all kinds to illustrate her argument that it is art that might have the power to save us as a nation and a collective people. 

Through art, black people have asserted their humanity, their hope, their struggle, in ways that future generations can see, be inspired by, and build from. In each chapter and section of the book, Alexander showcases artists’ work and details the ways in which that work has functioned to both teach and arouse action.

The Trayvon Generation is a lesson in art, history, and social justice told with the poetic verve only Alexander could deliver. An absolute must read for all Americans, I couldn’t recommend this book enough.

Slated for publication by Grand Central Publishing in April of 2022, you can preorder a copy of Elizabeth Alexander’s The Trayvon Generation from your local independent bookstore today.

Read more non-fiction book reviews at Centered on Books.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.

‘The Dark Side of Memory: Uruguay’s Disappeared Children and the Families That Never Stopped Searching’ by Tessa Bridal

The Dark Side of Memory is Tessa Bridal’s latest release since the her highly acclaimed novel The Tree of Red Stars. A thoroughly researched and deeply personal narrative nonfiction book, The Dark Side of Memory chronicles the military take over and proceeding dictatorship of Uruguay, Argentina, and other neighboring Latin American countries in the mid-1970s-1980s. 

Bridal, born and raised in Uruguay, returns to her home country to interview survivors and investigate the dozens of disappearances (most of them children) reported during this era. Through a storied retelling of these interviews, Bridal paints a scene of Uruguay and Argentina that feels both apocalyptic and eerily familiar.

To set the scene: a small subset of the population, mostly comprised of the military and with military backing, take over the civilian community. This militaristic government determines (largely in regards to political leaning) who is an enemy and who is not. Over time, being an enemy of the state becomes synonymous with capture, torture, and often complete erasure. 

Because of these atrocities, a generation of young revolutionaries suffered for their ideas and values, but another entirely innocuous and helpless generation suffered as well: the children of the opposition. After their parents were killed or imprisoned, these children were often put into orphanages, left at churches or firehouses, or adopted by the very people who participated in murdering those same children’s parents.

After the dictatorship is dissolved in 1985, few parents remained to look for their missing children, but the families and grandparents of those children did survive, and they looked ceaselessly for their loved ones. Tessa Bridal captures both the humanity and depravity wrapped up in a situation with impossible answers. By the end of the dictatorship, many of these children were nine-ten years old. They had lived whole lives with a family that wasn’t their own, living under a name that wasn’t their own. How would they feel to find out they’d been kidnapped? Lied to? That their birth parents were potentially killed or tortured by the people they called Mother and Father?

Already, fans of Margret Atwood will see a perverse amount of overlap with her postapocalyptic novel The Handmaid’s Tale, and rightfully so: Atwood has said numerous times she did not invent The Handmaid’s Tale, but rather used the inspiration of actual events happening around the world in the 1970s-1980s. But fans of Bruce Miller’s Hulu adaptation won’t be able to help but call to mind the episode when Hannah rebukes her birth mother and the main character, June, whom she has been separated from for years and whom Hannah doesn’t even remember any more. It’s a climactic moment in the show when viewers feel entirely hopeless: all of June’s work, all of her sacrifices, her unending love for her daughter seems lost when we realize Hannah loves her adopted family—a family that essentially kidnapped her. But what’s the right answer? Tear Hannah away from the people she calls her parents? Fill her with the terror of her own past and kidnapping? There doesn’t seem to be an easy answer in Miller’s show, and there was not an easy answer for the families portrayed in The Dark Side of Memory

The unnerving similarities between this speculative novel and the reality of life in South America for many only a few decades ago may shock some, but Bridal reminds us to look at our own government in the United Stated: the separation of children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, the lengths to which the U.S. went after 9/11 to protect our democracy, often at the cost of human rights—and the list goes on.

A terrifying, beautiful, and absolutely essential chronicle of a continent, a people, and an era often glossed over in our history lessons, The Dark Side of Memory is a must read. While you may have many of the facts at the outset of the novelization, that does not at all detract from the heightened emotions you’ll feel as you read Bridal’s account. It is riveting, heart wrenching, and almost entirely unbelievable.

Published by Invisible Ink in October 20201, The Dark Side of Memory by Tessa Bridal is available for purchase at your local independent bookstore.

Read more non-fiction book reviews at Centered on Books.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.

‘Honor’ by Thrity Umrigar

What is honor? Is it your value as a human being? Is it your worth in relation to your actions? Is it the weight with which other’s view you? Thrity Umrigar seeks, not to answer this question, but to pose it in a way that forces her readers to interrogate its meaning in her latest novel by the very same name: Honor.

Honor begins with a newspaper clipping: a woman and her husband have been burned alive for their interfaith marriage. A marriage between a Hindu and Muslim is nothing but dishonorable in their small Indian village. The woman, Meena, and her unborn child, though, survive the burning. Backed by a lawyer fighting to change the corrupt legal system in India, Meena presses charges against her two brothers—the men who burned her husband to protect their honor and hers. 

Next, we meet Smita. An American journalist who was born in India and hasn’t returned since she left at fourteen, Smita is suddenly summoned to the country by her coworker who is stationed in India. At first, Smita thinks her friend and coworker simply needs some help recovering from an emergency surgery, and Smita, though hesitant to return to the place of her birth, pushes her apprehension aside for her friend. When Smita arrives though, it quickly becomes clear that her coworker called Smita to India for a very different purpose: to take over coverage of Meena’s story. Smita is thrown into a whirlwind of emotion as she attempts to navigate not only Meena’s heartbreaking story and the inherent issues they illuminate for her homeland but also Smita’s own deep-seated traumas that lay hidden in that same land. 

Misogyny and patriarchy, class and privilege, racism and toxic masculinity are only a few of the major themes that Umrigar explores in Honor. She poses tough questions such as: are people born evil or are they made evil by their circumstances, by their station in life, by the way they are treated and made to feel dishonorable? Umrigar doesn’t by any means hide her stance on many of these questions and issues, and she often flat out tells the reader what she thinks is right and wrong, but not always. By the end of the novel, we are still left with an elusive feeling as to who was “good” and who was “bad.” We hate Meena’s brothers for what they’ve done, and yet that feeling is somewhat challenged when we learn that the brothers too were pressured to fulfill a task they thought to be handed down by the gods. Umrigar clearly paints a complicated picture not only of India and the issues illuminated by the country’s policies and practices, but issues that Smita points out exist everywhere.

Part drama, part romance, part social justice call-to-action, Honor is a novel that quickly draws you in and doesn’t leave much room for dawdling. While the plot and backstories of the characters often feel a bit canned, this somehow doesn’t detract from the engaging nature of the novel. It works because Umrigar sets Honor up in such a way that we are compelled to seek out the why, not the what of the novel. Why did it happen? Why did it have to happen? Why were these characters compelled to make the choices they made? And while the answer seems to lie somewhere in the title of the book, still the reader asks “Why? Why is that honor? Why is that what honor means to him, to her, to you?”

Slated for release by Algonquin books in January of 2022, Honor by Thrity Umrigar is an important and deeply tragic book that asks all the right questions of humanity. 

You can preorder a copy of Honor by Thrity Umrigar from your local independent bookstore.

Read more fiction book reviews at Centered on Books.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.

‘The Bohemians’ by Jazmin Darznik

Bestselling author Jazmin Darznik is at it again with her latest historical fiction novel The Bohemians. Set mainly in 1920s San Francisco, The Bohemians follows photographer Dorothea Lange from her arrival in The Golden City to becoming the artist she never claimed to be.

When we meet Dorothea, she is a cautious and withdrawn young girl only planning to pass through San Francisco when she’s robbed and left with nothing but her camera and the kindness of a few strangers. She quickly befriends Caroline Lee, a seamstress and artist herself, who introduces Dorothea to Monkey Block. Monkey Block is the core of the bohemian scene in San Francisco at the time, and Dorrie quickly rises through the ranks of artists surrounding her to become the first woman to own a portrait studio in the city.

Along the way, we meet a host of famous (and often infamous) characters including artists Maynard Dixon, who eventually becomes Dorothea’s husband, and Ansel Adams. Each new introduction enlivens the novel with fresh verve as readers not only recognize, but grow eager to learn more of, these historical figures. While the novel is a fictionalized account of Lange’s life, there is an element of pure fun to reading about legendary artists whose lives can only be known through what little pieces we have left of their pasts.

Darznik takes on numerous thematic and moral feats with The Bohemians drawing connection to modern day issues that still haven’t resolved over 100 years after Dorothea Lange experienced them. There’s systemic racism and politicians who support and further that ideology. There’s plague and pestilence that result in mask mandates, shuttered businesses, and social isolation. There’s misogyny. And then, perhaps most central to Dorothea’s own life is the issue of how we see ability in our society. 

Dorothea survived polio as a child, leaving one of her legs with a limp that she is wholly ashamed of until Caroline starts to convince Dorothea to see things differently. Dorothea’s embarrassment stems from how society views her and how she believes she should view herself based on societal norms and values of “beauty” and “perfection.” However, as Dorothea’s fame grows and with it her confidence to see beyond more traditional viewpoints, we hear less and less about her leg as something problematic and shameful. She is wildly successful, she is happy, she is loved by others and by herself and not despite her disability but because of who she is and how she defines herself, disability and all. At one point in the novel, Dorrie proclaims that without her differing abilities, she wouldn’t be the photographer that she is. A rare and powerful view of disability that is widely lacking in fiction (as well as our society), Darznik does a superb job portraying disability as it should be: something not to be lamented, ashamed of, or less in any way, but rather a part of the human condition that adds insurmountable value to individual lives and society as a whole.

A fast-paced, captivating novel that draws you in from the very beginning, The Bohemians is the perfect novel for history buffs, artist, or anyone looking for a delightful read that doesn’t shy away from hard topics.

Published by Ballantine Books in April 2021, The Bohemians is available from your local independent bookstore today.

Read more fiction book reviews at Centered on Books.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.

‘Woman No. 17’ by Edan Lepucki

woman-no-17-lepuckiWoman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki is a novel about nothing more complicated than identity. Told from dual perspectives, Lepucki tears readers back and forth between two opposing yet coexisting worlds. The first, the world of Lady, is the perspective of a middle-aged house wife turned writer who is in the middle of a self-maintained separation from her husband and who is constantly thinking about her ex-boyfriend of 18 years ago who was verbally abusive. She is grappling to raise both her toddler Devin and her teenaged son Seth who suffers from some type of disability that keeps him from speaking. So, in her struggles, Lady puts a call out for a nanny. And who arrives but our second main character and voice, S. S is an artist who has just broken up with her boyfriend and who has decided to relive her mother’s past in an attempt to better understand her alcoholic, juvenile mother’s point of view.

Both Lady and S are constantly trying to redefine themselves through new names (Lady was once Pearl and then becomes @muffinbuffin41 on Twitter; S’s really name is Esther who is actually wearing the persona of her mother Katherine Mary), new titles (Lady is a housewife turned aspiring writer; S is an artist turned nanny), and even through the actions they partake in to become the personas they are trying to embody (Lady seeks companionship in the much younger S as well as romantic relations with the man who abandoned her for a $2,000 check; S has become an alcoholic and her mother for her character).

Woman No. 17 is twisted with heartbreak, humor, and a constant reminder of the pressures we put on ourselves to be everything that we aren’t. Lady and S are plagued by their inadequacies, by their pasts, and by the generational failure of their mothers to be good mothers. In their constant search for their own identities, Lady and S are also grappling with the identities of their deluded mothers who couldn’t take care of their children.

My one critique of the book is about Seth’s disability. Seth does show some of the hallmark signs of selective mutism (SM) in memories that Lady has from his childhood, especially because of the unstable home life that he had and the potential anxiety he was experiencing. However, in his adulthood, his lack of speech is clearly not a form of anxiety. He is not even shy, let alone suffering from social anxiety. Selective mutism is in and of itself an anxiety disorder and often does not persist past childhood, though symptoms of anxiety will follow children through their whole lives. While, Lady admits that she doesn’t know the cause of Seth’s disability, and perhaps it is just from her point of view that he has SM, I struggled with this label for him. Lady is clearly not thorough in any of her research, thought processes, or other areas in her life, so if we could chalk it up to Lady’s perspective and not Lepucki’s I’d feel more comfortable with the label. Nonetheless I feel like labeling Seth with SM in the novel portrays a false perception of the disability to readers, and SM needs a lot more coverage than it gets to begin with.

Despite this critique, a beautifully written and often tragically hilarious novel, Woman No, 17 has all of the elements of a success. While it often reads a bit slowly, I would argue that’s part of the structure and purpose of the book. Life is moving inexorably slowly for the character’s living in Lepucki’s world, and so it is for the reader too.

Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki was released by Hogarth in early 2018 and is available for purchase at your local bookstore.

Read more fiction book reviews at Centered on Books.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.

‘Dunbar’ by Edward St. Aubyn

dunbar-edward-st-aubynDunbar by Edward St. Aubyn is the latest in Hogarth’s Shakespeare project. A modern retelling of one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, King Lear, Dunbar takes on the themes of greed, family, and madness with verve and anguish.

In St. Aubyn’s version of Lear, Dunbar is a media mogul who has recently decided that he needs an extended, if not permanent holiday from working, but with all the same perks of being the head of his corporation. He tries to convince his lawyer, Wilson, to put his two daughters in charge while still leaving him with all the proper bonuses. Wilson, in an attempt to save Dunbar from what he sees to be a terrible mistake, tries to persuade Dunbar against making the decision he’s so set upon. Dunbar, in a fury fires Wilson, and after a chain of rather uncertain events in his memory, ends up in a mental institution in England.

We meet Dunbar in the institution where he has made friends with a famous alcoholic actor who promises to help him escape. Close on his heels though, are the two daughters he realizes have upended his plans in an attempt to take over the entire company and divest their father of all power. They aren’t the only one’s perusing Dunbar though. Dunbar has another daughter, Florence (Cordelia reincarnated) who had been stripped of her shares in the company after divulging her disinterest in ever being a part of management in the business. Dunbar, in his enlightened state, realizes the mistakes he’s made regarding his daughters, and makes every attempt to right his wrongs.

A thrilling and often terrifying account of one’s man’s effort to repair the mistakes he’s made in the name of greed, Dunbar is a beautiful parallel to Shakespeare’s King Lear. The hatred the readers build for nearly all of the characters is matched only by the overwhelming love we are made to feel for Florence. St. Aubyn’s best character by far though, is Peter, the alcoholic actor who, as nearly all other characters do, gives way to the greater temptations of greed.

St. Aubyn does a beautiful job of recreating one of Shakespeare’s arguably greatest works, and he does so by not simply retelling the story, but entirely reinventing it.

Released by Hogarth press in October of 2017, Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn is available for purchase at your local bookstore.

Read more fiction book reviews at Centered on Books.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.

‘How to Behave in a Crowd’ by Camille Bordas

how-to-behave-in-a-crowd-bordasA novel where everything and nothing is said all at once without the slightest regard for conformity, How to Behave in a Crowd is both a hilarious and gloomy collection of pages.

Author Camille Bordas follows the life of a family in France over the course of a very short time during which a very lot happens. From realized dreams to actualized death, the Mazal family is lost in a tangle of happiness and despair, often without being able to distinguish between the two. Told from the perspective of the youngest of six siblings, Isidore, How to Behave in a Crowd is a novel about so much more than the words let on.

Told in a stark and rather dry tone, Isidore takes on the persona of someone who, despite what the title suggests, often does not know how to behave in a crowd. His thoughts are based in pure reason without much emotion, yet his actions, more often than not, take into account the people around him. He, unlike his brothers and sisters, is not a child prodigy working towards a first or second PhD after skipping years of schooling. Instead, Isidore is the odd one out. The one who infuses compassion into his encounters with others (unlike his siblings), the one who takes everything literally, including the advice given to him by homeless people who are clearly taking advantage of him.

Over the course of the novel, Isidore, sees people he loves achieve their dreams, lose their passion, and sometimes even die. Throughout his experiences, he is always looking at others, always trying to determine their thoughts, always trying to impress them without ever realizing that he has something to offer.

In the end, we can only infer what Isidore has learned from his experiences — as always he won’t really tell us what’s going on in his mind, or maybe he doesn’t know what’s going on beneath the literal thoughts that fill his head, but we know he’s learned something important. Bordas does a beautiful job of portraying the very real experiences of the human condition through the literal, though never static, view of Isidore.

Published by Tim Duggan Books in 2017, How to Behave in a Crowd is available for purchase at your local bookstore.

Read more fiction book reviews at Centered on Books.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.