Reviews

*Southern Living‘s “Best New Southern Author”

*A Kirkus Review Best Fiction Debut of 2010 

*Shortlisted for the 2010 Frank O’Connor Short Story Award

*A Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice

*A 2010 Summer Reading Suggestion and a 2010 Favorite Short Story Collection from Largehearted Boy

*A Discoveries pick from the LA Times

*Featured in The Daily Beast‘s Best New Writers series

*Featured in the debut fiction issue of Poets & Writers

“Reading these stories is satisfying, like going to a concert in which the musicians, you can just tell, have given everything for the moment: your unforgettable evening.”—Susan Salter Reynolds for the LA Times

“A great achievement as she has created a rich, capacious fictional territory about the lives of down-on-their luck people (forlorn principals, vengeful nurses, junkies trying to be good parents) that we don’t often encounter in fiction but fill the world.”The Daily Beast (read full review)

“Regional fiction with serious bite.”–The Charlotte Observer (read full review)

“So good you’ll be hooked”The Minneapolis Star-Tribune (read full review)

“[Boggs] writes with subtlety, empathy and command, so that every page features small surprises: jolts of recognition, pungent dialogue, keen observations. Unfussy, understated and richly varied stories—a promising debut.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Boggs’ debut collection of interwoven stories is simultaneously sharp-edged and pastoral, downcast and humorous. Her tales are set on the Mattaponi Indian Reservation in rural downstate Virginia, an unfamiliar landscape that springs to life as each story unfolds, revealing another layer in time[…] The reader feels privy to each conversation, so pitch-perfect is Boggs’ feel for the godforsaken place her characters inhabit.”-Booklist 

“Impressive […] these linked stories reach toward hope when they aren’t headed for heartbreak.” ELLE Magazine

“Flawless […] Each of the stories in the debut collection can stand alone, something many writers aspire to yet few achieve with such success. The protagonists aren’t merely hardscrabble people trying to get by, they’re trying to make sense of their lives and where they fit in the space of the world beyond the neighboring counties. Boggs’s carefully measured pace is the perfect accompaniment to her unique setting and its people who are indelibly linked.” -Bookslut

“Prose redolent with realism is a hallmark of the stories . . . . In this highly recommended collection, Boggs writes with subtlety and presents her characters unvarnished.” –The Virginian-Pilot 

“Belle Boggs has created funny, but understated, characters and her sharp, clear voice seems suited to stories relatives swap on slightly rickety wooden lawn furniture. They are unvarnished, but full of contradictions and twists of life[…] a bewitching debut.” Chicago Tribune 

“Simply put, Mattaponi Queen is one of the most striking debut story collections I have read in years. The stories in this collection are both grounded to a sense of place and vividly realized. Belle Boggs’ talent in portraying domestic distress while also exploring themes of social unrest is estimable …” -Largehearted Boy

“Strikingly Poised”–Popmatters

“Boggs’ stories, mostly set in southern Virginia, are grim, funny, plainspoken, and are unusually attentive to race and class conflicts.”-Mark Athitakis, Mark Athitakis’ American Fiction Notes

“Boggs’s style is characterized by lyric description bounded on all sides by plain-spoken action, naturalistic dialogue, and unhurried forward momentum. She takes her time. It is well worth sitting down and tucking into her words for a while.”—ForeWord Reviews

“Domestic fiction often focuses on heartbreaks and disappointment within families and Mattaponi Queen is no exception. What sets the book apart is the sense of history that bubbles beneath the surface. Four hundred years ago Powhatan – chief of the Mattaponi and the father of Pocahontas – ruled the region where these stories take place. Then John Smith married his daughter and English colonists kicked off an era of violence that ultimately led to the genocide of Native Americans and the founding of the United States. As these stories attest, we are still feeling the repercussions.”  -NewPages

4 responses to “Reviews

  1. John H. Harris

    Dear Ms. Boggs, I am the teacher from Saint Gertrude High School in Richmond who attended your reading at the Library of Virginia on June 24 along with one of my students and one of my former students. I told you I was going to submit a review of your book to the Southside Sentinel in Urbanna. I have finally done so, but I don’t know if it has been (or will be) published. The editor of the Sentinel acknowledged receipt of the review on July 23, and I spoke to him by phone that morning shortly before I departed for Chautauqua, New York, which is where I am now. I shall be back in Richmond on Sunday (August 1), at which time I shall try to determine the status of the review. I have made the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle (C.L.S.C.) aware of your volume in hopes that it might be considered as a selection for the nation’s “oldest book club,” as it bills itself, for next summer. (Google “C.L.S.C.” to find out more about this organization.) I actually gave the organization a copy of your book–one of seven I have bought–so that the person who decides which books get chosen for the C.L.S.C. would have a copy in hand when she reads my recommendation. I also attached to the recommendation a copy of the review I sent to the Sentinel. I think you would enjoy coming here and discussing your book with the members of the C.L.S.C. My time is running out on this machine–I’m in the Chautauqua library–so I’d better stop now. Go to ciweb.org if you are not familiar with the Chautauqua Institution. John H. Harris

  2. Belle Boggs

    Mr. Harris, thank you for your support for Mattaponi Queen! I have emailed you to talk about book clubs. Happy summer! -Belle

  3. Jessica Carter South

    Congratulations Belle on your wonderful book. It has been a long time since we have seen each other, High School I think.(King William Class of 94) I can’t wait to read it.

  4. John H. Harris

    Dear Ms. Boggs, My review of Mattaponi Queen is on page A10 of the August 5, 2010, issue of the Southside Sentinel. I hope someone in Urbanna or Middlesex County sends you a copy. All the best. John H. Harris

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