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Three new reviews up this week on Cleaver’s Reviews page. Read the full reviews on Cleaver.

Equilateral 

Praise from reviewer Chris Ludovici for Ken Kalfus’ newest novel, Equilateral:

“In a little over two hundred pages, Kalfus manages to tell a rich, fascinating story about our need to connect with something outside of ourselves, and our inherent limitations that keep us from doing just that.”

“The plot, while simple, has drive and purpose. It’s hard not to get swept up in the narrative drive and optimism, misguided though it is, about the potential contact with the Martians. Reading it, I knew rationally that there was no life on Mars and that Thayer’s quest was doomed to failure, but there was another less logical part of me that was holding out hope.”

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Dr. Radway’s Sarsaparilla Resolvent

Michelle Fost reviews Beth Kephart’s new novel,which is rich in Philadelphia history and lore:

“Kephart looks at material from the past that we might consider lost to us and demonstrates how traces of that past stay with us through research and writing. In her story of William Quinn in 1870’s Philadelphia, too, much has been lost. As fourteen-year-old William goes in search of what has been taken from his family and as he thinks about what he is missing (including a murdered brother and a father in prison), we see that a great deal of what is loved can be recovered.”

The book, targeted for the Young Adult market, draws in mature readers, too:

“I liked the pile up of historical artifacts and scenes, I liked the sounds of the names of things Kephart brought into her story—“the flangers, fitters, riveters, carters, chippers, caulkers coming in” and so on—that give this story that begins in a hard scrabble moment in a boy’s life in old Bush Hill a feeling of abundance,” writers Fost.

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Solecism

And Poetry reviewer Kenna O’Rourke writes of the difficulties and rewards in reading the Rosebud Ben-Oni’s new collection:

“The reader clings to disparate stanzas, following ambiguously symbolic sparrows, in a fruitless attempt to add everything up, but the author evades a single style…She is breaching the good manners of narrative sense and propagating intentionally inconsistent poetry. Her solecistic spirit is one of interruption and disruption…”

In the end, writes O’Rourke, Ben-Omi is, admirably, not even trying to be a popular poet:

“Ben-Oni’s is the poetry of this Other, desperate in displacement yet unable to content itself with a solitary (boring) approach.”