Elevate Difference

Reviews of Picador

The Girl With The Glass Feet

I am a bit of a daydreamer, as I imagine we all are. When I read, the same rule applies; while the letters unfurl on the page, the images unwind in my mind, doing as they will, relying on my knowledge of the world. I do not like intrusions into that universe. Ali Shaw is a daydreamer as well; however, his dreams have intruded into my own.

The Summer Without Men

The basic storyline of The Summer Without Men, while not startling or original, seemed full of possibility: husband cheats, wife goes to her childhood home for a respite to recover, and along the way makes potentially hopeful discoveries about herself. I anticipated a bitter beginning, full of hurt feelings, with some healing by the end. However, either the moment of redemption never arrived, or it was obscured by the lack of clarity in the narrative.

The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World is Still the Least Valued

Like many of my generation, I am a child of divorce. I watched as my newly single mother struggled to work, find and pay for childcare, and afford lawyers that could compete with my father’s during endless days of court. I watched as we plummeted into poverty while my wealthy father’s lifestyle barely changed. I am the daughter of a woman who chose to sacrifice her career to raise me, and who was subsequently penalized by a system that encouraged her to do precisely that.


Michelle Huneven’s Blame spans twenty years in fewer than 300 pages but avoids any frantic pacing or strange leaps. Patsy MacLemoore, the main character, is an alcoholic. A young academic, her scholarly accomplishments initially help to balance negative effects of her alcoholism. Huneven’s protagonist has a professorship at a at a small liberal arts college.

The Tricking of Freya

The Tricking of Freya is a multi-generational family story narrated by a girl named Freya Morris, following her life from early childhood through middle age. Freya grows up in suburban Connecticut, but her heart lives in a small village called Gimli, the Canadian settlement of her Icelandic ancestors. In Gimli, her family is revered as the descendants of two of Iceland’s best-loved poets.

All the Living

It doesn’t take much of a search to learn that All the Living by C. E. Morgan has been very well-reviewed. The story itself is simple: girl and boy meet; event pushes them toward a commitment neither of them had thought through; life gets rough and someone thinks about finding a way out; a certain kind of intimate conversation between girl and boy becomes possible as a result of the difficulties they learn to endure together.

Molly Fox's Birthday

The fact that Deirdre Madden's tale takes place all in one day, as a calm reflection of the narrator’s relationships, does not take away from the fantastic insights to human nature that the author reveals.

The Spare Room

Many of us love our friends just as much as our family members. We often believe we would go to great lengths to protect them, as does Helen, the narrator of The Spare Room.

Mathilda Savitch

Despite years of being told not to, I immediately judged Victor Lodato’s novel Mathilda Savitch by the cover. I opened it expecting to speed through a mature version of Harriet the Spy with a twist of Tim Burton’s eccentricity.

Hotel Iris

Having been forced to drop out of school to work at her family's seaside hotel in Japan, a young woman named Mari suffers through days marked by routine. She cleans rooms, minds the desk, and attends to the needs of the guests. The novel Hotel Iris explores what happens when a girl breaks free of a life of controlled repetition, only to fall victim to an even more brutal cycle of submission and domination.

Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963

When reading fictionalized journals, one never experiences the sense of the guilt that results from a real intrusion into someone’s private thoughts and personal life. The fictive writer simply does not exist. When the journal being read belongs to someone who has had a very real public persona, the reader will always experience a few uncomfortable moments. In reading Susan Sontag’s journals, this feeling is amplified tenfold.

The Sixties

Jenny Diski gave me more to contemplate in 134 pages of The Sixties than I could manage to willfully squeeze out of the last piece of popular literary fiction I read. It is clear after only a few sentences that Diski is a writer worth her salt, and why she was the one chosen to handle this topic. Often the sixties are romanticized to the point of obscurity, those who lived through them trying to weave fame, and infamy, out of their psychedelic experiences.

The White Mary

Marika Vicera is a war reporter who has dedicated herself to telling the stories of oppressed peoples around the world. She is giving a talk at Boston University when she meets a psychology doctoral student named Sebastian Gilman. Seb, as he is known, is in awe of Marika's war reports, which have landed frequently on the covers of major newspapers. Although Marika doesn't think much of the practice of psychology, she is taken with Seb. Marika takes a break from her globe trotting to write a biography of famous journalist Robert Lewis, who recently committed suicide.

Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers

Radical Chic, noun: a small clique of the New York upper elite who, in order to appear groundbreakingly fashionable, support social movements and causes which ironically are at odds with the morays inherent to their identity Mau-mau, verb: to stubbornly and meticulously badger someone into supporting a cause; to petition while using one’s minority identity in such a way that a member of a majority is left without rebuttal Flak Catcher, noun: poorly paid and hardly respected public officials who are often used as human shields to protect their bosses from mau-mauing _(see definition

Atmospheric Disturbances

In some cases, you may be midway through a story, novel, or film before realizing you’re dealing with an unreliable narrator. He or she is biased, withholding information, or mentally unstable. (Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s disturbing story “The Yellow Wallpaper” springs to mind as just one example.) In Atmospheric Disturbances, the debut novel by Rivka Galchen, it is apparent early on that the main character, psychiatrist Dr.

The Housekeeper and the Professor

If you want to read a book that is punch-you-in-the-gut beautiful, then pick up Yoko Ogawa's novel, The Housekeeper and the Professor. This novel is a careful meditation on memory and communication.


In Bodies, Susie Orbach, best known for her continuous thread of psychoanalytic discussion of the body particularly as rooted in eating disorders and feminism, offers up a broader discussion of bodies in our time.

The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America

Many people are rightfully weary of discussing and analyzing 9/11. While it could be labeled insensitivity, it more likely has to do with a stifled national discourse, repugnant media spin, and a lack of in-depth processing. For the past several years, we’ve all been hibernating, trying to escape the aftermath of the terrorist attacks rather than actively deconstruct their meaning.

Strange Piece of Paradise

When I picked up this memoir in early July, I was expecting to navigate a woman’s difficult journey from surviving a brutal, anonymous trauma into an enlightened state through making peace with the crime scene and its effected community. What I did not anticipate was the systemic analysis of social problems, personal depth and conscious processing that this book contains.

Captain of the Sleepers

Captain of the Sleepers is a tropical story of secrets and conflicts: familial, sexual, social, political, all intricately tangled up together in the Caribbean islands. It proceeds along parallel timelines, unfolding in the present day and in the 1940s and '50s, switching narrators at times, evoking disturbing events in which North American expatriates, tourists and Marines play key roles.

Absolute Convictions

If you’ve never heard of Roe v. Wade, you’ve either been living in Papua, New Guinea for the past four decades or Russian cosmonauts kidnapped you when you were two. The impact this decision continues to have on the cultural and political consciousness of our country could more accurately be described as a stranglehold. As we are seeing, once again, in this new political season, any politician who wants to run for national office has to pass the “litmus” test of _Roe v.