There’s little more satisfying to us than a reviewer who completely gets a book, whether they’re writing for The New York Times or their own personal blog or somewhere in between. Heavy Feather Review, a literary and arts quarterly, is publishing some fantastic fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and, lucky for us, book reviews. Erin McKnight recently reviewed Laura van den Berg’s The Isle of Youth and boy oh boy does she get it.
“Winding from Patagonia to the Antarctic Peninsula, the route of this follow-up to the wildly successful debut, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, is just as exotic, its settings—a plane, mid-emergency landing; a day-long stakeout on a scorching rooftop; a backwater bar after a dismal magic show—just as inventive . . . In the opening story, ‘I Looked For You, I Called Your Name,’ the newlyweds make the recommended trip to Iguazú Falls where the guide pronounces, much to the bride’s dismay, that the first falls they see, the first of hundreds, is the ‘best one.’ This sense of disappointment may well resonate with van den Berg’s reader, who could struggle to imagine that the stories which follow will attain the splendor of the first—water that crashes yet sings, a landscape lush in its formidability—but this writer is every bit as talented as she’s professed to be, for although The Isle of Youth is expectedly marvelous, each story is its own ‘very best.’”
Read the full review here.