Groff has done with this new collection what many writers have attempted but so few have achieved: to create a sense of association between writer and place with precise and evocative writing. In the 11 stories contained in Florida, she creates an image of Florida filled with dread, violence and death, an image that's far from the popular perception of Florida today, while also examining the burdens of privilege, parenthood, and marriage. With her trademark lyricism and singular voice, Groff has proven why she is one of the best writers working today.
Elaine Castillo's America Is Not the Heart is an astonishing portrait of what it is like being a Filipino who moved to America in search of the elusive "better". Whether for a better place, a better job or a better life, Castillo has zeroed in on the desire of every immigrant and woven it into a compelling novel. Being a Filipino immigrant myself, I can attest that Castillo's novel hits close to home and lays bare ache after ache with each turn of the page. America Is Not the Heart is a beautiful novel written with a powerful voice, and a worthy addition to the canon of immigrant fiction.
This collection of vignettes and short stories, taken from his work for Jazzman magazine from the 1990s to the 2000s, is a fitting homage to jazz, a genre that Blutch obviously loves. Like the music whose name the book borrows for its title, Total Jazz is a loose and unrestrained succession of stories not only about jazz and jazz musicians but also about the various disciples and weirdos who love the artform, from the record collector to the concertgoer. As a whole, the collection is uneven, sometimes perplexing, but always interesting. For a comic about jazz, what else can you expect?