Elevate Difference

Reviews of Akashic Books


By the age of nine, Michelle LeBeau has already taken more than a few knocks. Her mom has disappeared—whereabouts unknown—and her dad has unceremoniously dumped her with his aging parents in tiny Deerhorn, Wisconsin and left town. Michelle is Deerhorn's first biracial resident—half Japanese, half white—and she is not allowed to forget it. Her only friends are a loving spaniel and her grandparents, a charismatic retiree named Charlie, and his dutiful wife, Helen.

The Lesser Tragedy of Death

The Lesser Tragedy of Death is the first collection of poems by novelist Christina García, author of the superb Dreaming in Cuban. The poems offers an anguished narrative detailing García's brother’s lifelong struggle with drug addiction.


Sandy Bloomgarten is a writer you either envy, pity, or outright hate. In theory, she's an excellent reporter, but often, to pay the bills, she resorts to working for gossip rags like The Enquirer. Who of us in a bind hasn't resorted to similar means?

So Much Things to Say: 100 Calabash Poets

Each May for the past ten years, poets from all over the globe converge in Jamaica for the Calabash International Literary Festival. So Much Things to Say: 100 Calabash Poets brings together the work of poets known and unknown who have read at the Festival or are Calabash Writer’s Workshop Fellows.

Jesus Boy

Star-crossed intergenerational love between a Christian matriarch and a young church pianist sounds like an unlikely fictional masterpiece, but in Jesus Boy, Preston L.

Heart of the Old Country

Mike’s life isn’t going anywhere quickly. A townie car service driver who lives with his widower father, he barely tolerates his girlfriend of four years, Gina, and spends most of his time contemplating an escape from his South Brooklyn stomping grounds. After a friend is brutally murdered with Mike driving the assailants’ getaway car, Mike doesn’t flee. Instead, he accepts a coveted job working for one of the local mob bosses running packages—contents unknown—between an Ethiopian hustler and a house full of Hasidic Jews. His tough guise doesn’t last long, though.

The Ravenous Audience

I’ve always thought that at its best, art in some way disturbs us: out of complacency, ignorance, or innocence that has become a liability. The Ravenous Audience by Kate Durbin is a deliciously disturbing collection of poems that delivers a sensory-emotional feast ripe with smells, sounds, and flavors of the sacred and the profane.

Anna In-Between

The premise of Anna In-Between is simple: Anna Sinclair, a thirty-nine-year-old editor at a big book publishing company in New York City returns to the (unnamed) Caribbean nation where she was born and raised in order to visit her parents, Beatrice and John Sinclair. While there, she learns her mother has advanced breast cancer, but refuses to go to the United States, which has better hospitals and equipment, for the operation that could save her life.

Anna In-Between

In her newest novel, Anna In-Between, Elizabeth Nunez explores the complexity of relationships between parents and grown children as well as the delicate nature of a marriage and the complexity of place. This moving novel charts the many obstacles that arise when an adult child becomes the caretaker for a parent.

Will Work for Drugs

I have always wanted to like Lydia Lunch. I’ve always admired her assertiveness and her dark attitude, and at times, even her severely sarcastic wit.

Portland Noir

Noir is easier to recognize than to define. The best dictionary definition I found was, “crime fiction featuring hard-boiled cynical characters and bleak sleazy settings.” Portland Noir, then, has a self-explanatory title: it is a collection of short, dark stories that take place in Portland, Oregon.

Alice Fantastic

“I read faster than I breathe,” panted Maggie Estep. The author furiously delivered her signature sassy staccato while reading recently from her sixth novel, Alice Fantastic, at Inquiring Minds independent bookstore in Saugerties, New York. Estep quickly seduced the audience with her sharp tongue, much the way she first seduced me with her spoken word at the Nuyorican Poets Café in the 1990s.


Upon reading Ruins, I was struck by the urgency of the content. Set in post-revolutionary Cuba the characters exist in a state of stagnant ideologies and hopes. Throughout the narrative Achy Obejas exposes a world that is startlingly familiar, one in which political values change according to the realities in which they exist.

Like Son

I was surprised to realize, after I turned the final page and perused the back jacket, that Like Son was not Felicia Luna Lemus’s first novel. It reads like a debut, in good ways and in bad.

New Orleans Noir

Unlike every other volume of short stories I've read, none of the stories in this book disappointed me. Written by authors who live or have lived in the Big Easy, New Orleans Noir digs below the surface and into the social fabric of a city that had its troubles long before Hurricane Katrina. To say that it pushes the reader out of her comfort zone would be a major understatement. The collection is divided into two parts: pre- and post- Katrina.

A Simple Distance

"All this speaking for others had me losing my own voice," states Jean, the conflicted lesbian attorney with mommy issues in A Simple Distance, K. E. Silva's luscious, tropical/San Francisco novel. In less than 200 rich and delicious pages, Silva layers a bold and romantic tale of family betrayal, lust, politics and the ever-poignant quest for a place one can call home. Cracked like a coconut, Jean is hard and coarse on the outside, wrapped snugly in her thick skin. Though hidden inside, her sweetness and urge for lasting love and social justice push through her rough exterior.