Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Exotic Yet Familiar

If you have not already happened across it, my latest Kirkus Reviews column is devoted to a critique of John Straley’s quirky new novel, Cold Storage, Alaska. I write, in part:
Straley relates in an author’s note that he intended Cold Storage, Alaska to be “a tribute to one of my favorite genres: screwball comedy.” And it’s a fact that there’s considerable humor in these pages. (I had to periodically remind myself that this book was not concocted by the same guys who gave us the 1990s Alaska-set TV hit Northern Exposure, though it might well have been.) It’s also true that this poetic, often-tender work--rather reminiscent of Richard Russo’s small-town narratives (Empire Falls, etc.)--could be shelved in
bookstores under General Fiction as justifiably as under Crime Fiction. Yet illegalities provoke much of the action taking place here, and like so many exceptional works in this genre,
Cold Storage, Alaska shows that extreme circumstances can occasionally force people to be stronger and more resilient than they thought possible.
You’ll find the whole piece here.

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