Book Review: Amazon Burning by Victoria Griffiths

amazon-burning-coverVictoria Griffith’s debut novel Amazon Burning follows the exploits of Emma Cohen, a journalism student who leaves New York under a cloud of suspicion. She arrives in Brazil to shadow her father, bureau chief for the Guardian newspaper. Ill at ease with upper-class Rio society, she jumps at the chance to accompany her father while he reports on the murder of an environmental activist in the Amazon rainforest.

On the way they meet up with the impossibly handsome and charming photographer Jimmy Feldman — a Brazilian-born son of expat parents. While Emma’s father is off reporting, Emma and Jimmy embark on their own investigation, attempting to navigate a web of corruption involving local officials, miners, rancher, smugglers, and other parties who stand to profit from the destruction of the rain forest.

One part eco-thriller, one part “new adult” romance, Griffith’s novel offers readers a close-up view of modern life in Brazil. Her vivid descriptions of the Amazon and the Yanomami who live in it are far more compelling than the love story between Emma and her hunky photographer. And the account of Emma’s troubles in New York seemed rather overwrought and improbable. Aside from these few false notes though, the book is well worth a read.

This review originally appeared on Gender Focus.

I’ve Been Published in The dVerse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry

My longest poem, “Letters from Provincetown,” has gone through a number of iterations since I first penned it in 1998. And now it’s been included in the newly released dVerse Anthology: Voices of Contemporary World Poetry.

Edited by Frank Watson (aka Follow the Blue Flute), the volume contains work from poets who frequent the dVerse Poets Pub, an online community that I find has a nice balance between friendly members and quality work. I’ve made a number of helpful connections at their weekly Open Link Night and also enjoy their other regular series, including Form for All and Pretzels and Bullfights.

A friend recently chastised me for downplaying my accomplishments. So if you’d like to support my work and also read an interesting variety of voices from around the world, I suggest giving it a look. The book is available in print and ebook at Amazon and debuted in the top 20 poetry anthologies on the site.

Buy the book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-dVerse-Anthology-Voices-Contemporary/dp/1939832012