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Book Review

Book Reviews


By Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor
Harper Perennial
Oct. 17, 2017
$ 21.99
368 pp

‘It Devours!’

Night Vale is a weird little town with a lot of heart. It was first made popular in podcast form and then in its first brilliant novel and now selling out live shows all over the world. It seems there’s nothing the strange little town in the desert can’t conquer.

In its second triumphant return to the written word, the team behind my favorite fictional world takes on deep philosophical questions of belief, faith and logic. And because one endlessly complex plot isn’t enough, they tackle romance at the same time.

Are science and religion reconcilable? Is it possible to have both strongly present in your life without falling apart? “It Devours” guides us along this tenuous track with two new, soon-to-be-beloved characters, Nilanjana and Darryl. Their attempts to understand religion, science and each other form the multi-layered prose that defines Night Vale in all its forms. Beautiful, surreal, fantastical and extraordinarily human, Fink and Cranor’s amazing story hits every note with the perfect discord and prickling delight every fan knows well. Once again, this is a stellar read for all fans — new and old alike. ♦ — Review by Julie Goodrich




By Kate Moore
April 18, 2017
Hardcover $26.99
496 pp

Prep Iowa

‘The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women’

World War I pilots needed to see the dials in their aircraft. Radium glows in the dark and was the active component in the paint used to illuminate these dials. Young girls were hired to paint the dial faces using a method called lip-pointing — pointing their tainted brushes with their lips to accurately apply the paint on the dial surface. Radium dust was also prevalent in the “studios,” so much so that the girls walked home shining in the dark.

At once fascinating and horrifying, “The Radium Girls” chronicles the poisoning of young girls in the industry of radium dial painting and their long struggle for justice from the company responsible. Their persistence helped to improve both labor laws and scientific knowledge of radium and industrial poisoning.

Moore provides an intimate look at the ultimate result: loss of teeth and jaw bone, loss of limbs, sarcomas. It took until late in the 1930s for a legal settlement to be reached. Their journey and the intransigence of the Radium Dial Company in compensating the suffering girls is truly chilling. ♦ — Review by Harriet Leitch

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