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Short Takes: October

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A PECULIAR GRACE
JEFFREY LENT
ATLANTIC MONTHLY PRESS, 2007, $25
This third novel by Vermont native Jeffrey Lent weaves an intense narrative about Hewitt Pearce, a blacksmith with secrets in his past and a lost love in his heart. When Jessica, a “troubled young vagabond,” surfaces within the first few pages of the novel, Pearce begins to face the ghosts from his past and “realizes the faith that art can deliver.”

JOURNEY TO THE MOUNTAINTOP: ON LIVING AND MEANING
ROBERT C. BARON & THOMAS LOCKER
FULCRUM, 2007, $25
Stuyvesant, New York, painter Thomas Locker continues to channel the Hudson River School artists he emulates, this time with writer Robert C. Baron, as the two explore the Catskills and engage in 19th-century-style metaphysical introspection. This thin volume, reminiscent of Locker’s children’s books, touches on Einstein and Heisenberg as well as Thoreau and transcendental poet William Cullen Bryant.

DON’T I KNOW YOU?
KAREN SHEPARD
HARPERCOLLINS, 2007, $13.95
Shepard, a resident of Williamstown, Massachusetts, filters the narrative of Gina Engel’s murder through three “interconnected narratives” set in 1976 New York City. Following these personal stories, Shepard achieves an “examination of the human heart” that reveals the far-reaching effects of one woman’s death.


THE WILD TWIST OF THEIR STEMS
CAROL GRASER
FOOTHILLS PUBLISHING, 2007, $14
An exploration of the awe, strife, and joys of motherhood, Saratoga Springs poet Carol Graser’s first book focuses on the movement of small moments in the context of larger meaning. Her verse emphasizes repetition and enjambment, to create memorable images such as “preschoolers like corn exuberant / in the pan pop their artless dance.”


TOSHIKO TAKAEZU: THE EARTH IN BLOOM
J. STANLEY YAKE
MEAM PUBLISHING/UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII PRESS, 2005, $50
This photographic tribute by philosophy professor and amateur lensman Stanley Yake was begun when he took classes with the renowned ceramicist Takaezu at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. Yake’s photographs lovingly express the gentle beauty of the artist’s clay vessels, and the sense of awe they inspire.

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