Book Review

Journalist and book reviewer Suzanne Perez reviews the latest books and such for KMUW on air and right here. Discover new reviews on alternate Mondays. You can also listen to KMUW book reviews through iTunes. Listen or subscribe here

One of Dorothea Lange’s 1930s iconic portraits of a mother living through the dust bowl features a woman and her suckling child staring directly into the camera from their dusty roadside camp along a gritty, endless highway. The intrusive gaze of the mother and child is disturbing, challenging, hard. They have suffered in an environment that is cruel and unusual. 

The portrait inspired Rea Meadows to write the novel, I Will Send Rain.

We Love You, Charlie Freeman, an ambitious debut novel by Kaitlyn Greenidge, examines the complexities of scientific research, the often misguided conclusions drawn about race and evolution, and how a family experiment can go wildly wrong.

Book Review: 'Hold Still' Is Not To Be Missed

Jul 11, 2016
Liz Ligouri

This commentary originally aired on May 4, 2015.

Sally Mann’s exhibition of photographs of her children brought her persecution. She was accused of exploitation because of the naked images she produced of them at their remote Virginia home.

Book Review: 'The Girls' is Haunting

Jun 27, 2016

It is appropriate that the cover of The Girls by Emma Cline pays homage to the psychedelic band gig posters prominent in San Francisco during the late sixties; the book takes place in 1969 in Northern California, characters drop out, and visionaries distort reality. While Cline drew her inspiration from the effect of despicable charm a man like Charles Manson has on young vulnerable girls, her novel is a more universal story about young girls everywhere. 

'Imagine Me Gone' is a Literary Achievement

Jun 13, 2016

Novelist and short story writer Adam Haslett’s new novel Imagine Me Gone portrays a family of five whose story is tragic, loving, and at times, gut-wrenching. In the 1960s Margaret faces a choice when her fiancé John is hospitalized for depression. Such is her sense of commitment and love that she marries John and they have three children.

'Before the Fall' is a Thrill Ride

May 30, 2016

Noah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Peabody Award-winning author, screenwriter and producer, and most recently an executive producer, writer, and show runner for the TV series Fargo. Hawley is also a writer of novels, and his latest, Before the Fall, is a thrill ride of a book, a perfect summer beach read.   

Three time periods, three cities, and one gorgeous painting, in a smart and well crafted novel: The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith.

Richard Russo is a magnificent storyteller whose delightfully flawed characters are the people who often go unseen. In his new novel, Everybody’s Fool, Russo resurrects such characters from his beguiling 1993 novel Nobody’s Fool picking them up 10 years later, still in the fictional small upstate New York town of North Bath.   


When my 25-year-old daughter told me that one of her high school acquaintances who showed so much promise became addicted to heroin, I wondered how that happened. Veteran journalist and storyteller Sam Quinones explains it all in his gripping book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.

Stephanie Craig

Debut author Jung Yun was born in South Korea and raised in the US. Her dark novel of assimilation, Shelter, is a no holds barred look at the devastating effects of anger and violence as it is inflicted within and upon two generations. In general it is a look at families, but in particular the novel looks at the desperation and redemption in the relationships in three generations of fathers and sons. What price must a son pay for past sins of a father; what kind of father is an inadequate son; and when does desperation get to the point of choosing between redemption and abandonment?