Wiseblood Books

Exiles

Reviewed by Meredith Wise

Exiles

by Ron Hansen
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008
227 pages, $23.00

The first thing to keep in mind about Exiles, if you are going to avoid being disappointed, is that it is a novelized biography rather than a conventional novel. Ron Hansen imposed some very strict limits on his invention, which he summarized in a discussion on the web journal InsideCatholic: [Read more...]

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Book Review: Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age

Joseph O’Brien

Beauty Will Save the World: Recovering the Human in an Ideological Age
by Gregory Wolfe
ISI Books, 2011
278 pp., $29.95 (hardcover)
ISBN: 1933859881

One look at any art museum and the numberless portraits of the Madonna and Child, or depictions of the Nativity, the Crucifixion or the Last Supper that invariably hang there will demonstrate exactly how successful the relationship between the Church and the artist has been in the history of Western civilization. [Read more...]

“Little Volcanoes”: An Interview with Amy Welborn

I don’t know how it comes up or how we talk about it in a way that we both understand, but for some reason, I get it in my head that I want her to know something about me. I need to communicate this thing that explains me, that explains us, that explains our presence, how we ended up here out of all the places in the world that we could be tonight. I say what I think might be correct: Mi sposo, morto. She gasps, reaches a hand to touch mine, and I work out a way to tell her more about it.
I point to my heart.

[Read more...]

Book Review: Oblations

Meredith Wise

Oblations
By Nick Ripatrazone
Gold Wake Press, 2011
92 pp.; $14.00
ISBN: 978-0982630969

“All things counter, original, spare, strange.” Oblations begins with an epigraph from “Pied Beauty,” the poem which gave Dappled Things its name. If I had to choose between adjectives, I would say that these Oblations are offerings of the spare. [Read more...]

Book Review: Mansfield Park

Dena Hunt

Mansfield Park
By Jane Austen
Ed. Eleanor Bourg Donlon
Ignatius Critical Editions, 2010
566 pp., $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-58617-418-7

In this new edition of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park from the Ignatius Press series of critical editions, editor Eleanor Bourg Donlon fulfills the Ignatius promise of a traditional approach to the study of literature. There’s no way to understand the value of such an approach without contrasting it to others, and the single most dominant publisher of critical editions is Norton. Those of us who are veterans of English undergraduate studies were taught to regard Norton anthologies and critical editions as well-nigh biblical in authoritativeness, the point of reference in a zillion term papers or a zillion-plus classroom “discussions.” [Read more...]

Book Review: Reflections

Jonathan Potter

Reflections
Poems by Ruth Asch, with art work by James Tyldesley
Saint Austin Press, 2009
136 pp.; $10.00
ISBN: 978-1901157468

When I first opened Reflections, Ruth Asch’s extraordinary first collection of poetry, I did that bad thing readers are not supposed to do: I turned to the last page. The little poem, poised there on page 129, stared me in the eye, smiled, and then kicked me in my reviewer’s shin just hard enough to smart a little and make me grin at the task ahead of me. [Read more...]

Book Review: House of Words

Reviewed by Joseph O’Brien

House of Words
By Jonathan Potter
Korrektiv Press, 2010
94 pp., $15
ISBN: 1439258031

“Nature is a Haunted House—but Art—a House that tries to be haunted.” Penned in a letter to her sponsor and editor T.W. Higginson, Emily Dickinson zeroes in here on what the human imagination is about when it sets down to create—although “create” is not quite the word we want in this case. [Read more...]

Book Review: The Eternal Smile: Three Stories

Reviewed by Matthew Lickona

The Eternal Smile: Three Stories
By Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim
First Second, 2009
176 pp., $16.95
ISBN: 1596431563

Graphic novelist Gene Luen Yang writes on his website, “I’ve always struggled with how to incorporate my faith into my comics in an authentic way.” (Yang is Catholic; the line comes in a description of how he came to write The Rosary Comic Book.) He also writes that The Eternal Smile: Three Stories, his collaboration with artist Derek Kirk Kim, is about “the relationship between fantasy and reality,” and how “geek fantasy media can suck the life right outta ya.” [Read more...]

Theatrical Review: The Screwtape Letters

Janice Walker

The Screwtape Letters
Fellowship for the Performing Arts
Westside Theatre & Box Office, 407 W 43rd St (9th Ave), NYC.
Performances begin May 10, 2010

The snake may have all the lines, but this was never put to such glorious effect as in the Fellowship for the Performing Arts’ production of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. In this more than timely production now on national tour, actor Max McLean as demonic Under Secretary Screwtape has brought a new dramatic energy to the devilish epistolary and holds up a mirror to our own noisy, confounded, joyless age. [Read more...]

Book Review: Say You’re One of Them

Katy Carl

Say You’re One of Them
By Uwem Akpan
Little, Brown and Company, 2008
368 pp., $23.99/$26.99
ISBN: 9780316113786

It is a great thing that these seven stories, having been chosen for a certain famous book club, will now receive a flood of richly deserved attention. It is a shame that so little of the attention will take into account how Uwem Akpan’s Catholic faith shapes his narratives, or even find that phenomenon worth accounting for. Without such an accounting, the stories cannot be completely understood. Because without such an accounting, the stories—as the New York Times review of July 27, 2008, found them—can be read as merely “grim reportage” of horrors on the ground on a continent few American readers have visited and still fewer understand. [Read more...]

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