by Aatish Taseer ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 7, 2015
A timeless, masterful epic.
In this ambitious novel, Taseer chronicles 40 years of modern Indian history through the eyes of a father and son, both scholars of the ancient Indian language Sanskrit.
In the midst of translating The Birth of Kumara, Skanda leaves Manhattan for Geneva to be with his gravely ill father, Toby, the maharaja of Kalasuryaketu. After Toby dies, Skanda must return his body to India, a country his father has not set foot in since 1992. From here, Taseer (Noon, 2011, etc.) skillfully shifts the narrative between Skanda in present-day Delhi and Toby, beginning in 1975, the year of Indira Gandhi’s “Emergency,” continuing through the riots against Sikhs in 1984, the dissolution of his marriage to Skanda’s mother, and, in 1992, the demolition of the mosque in Ayodhya, along with the arrival of American daytime television. Sanskrit phrases bind and illuminate this enchanting saga, and it’s through father's and son’s devotion to the language and their shared “deep knowledge of classical India” that both Skanda and Toby make sense of the history and struggles of their country of origin. “Was the language all that had held the world together? Had that alone been the source of meaning?” As Skanda contemplates how India’s past political strife irrevocably damaged his parents’ marriage, Toby considers, years earlier, whether his love of Sanskrit has distracted him from seeing the truth about his beloved country. “His feeling for the language had now, for as long as he could remember, been part of his way of seeing, part of the way he configured the world. But had it blinded him to the reality of the place?” A year after Toby’s death, when Skanda must release his ashes into the Tamasa River, Skanda begins to appreciate his father’s “whole approach to things, to history, to memory, to place, to civilization.”A timeless, masterful epic.
Pub Date: July 7, 2015
Page Count: 576
Publisher: Faber & Faber/Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015
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by Kristin Hannah ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 3, 2015
Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.
Hannah’s new novel is an homage to the extraordinary courage and endurance of Frenchwomen during World War II.
In 1995, an elderly unnamed widow is moving into an Oregon nursing home on the urging of her controlling son, Julien, a surgeon. This trajectory is interrupted when she receives an invitation to return to France to attend a ceremony honoring passeurs: people who aided the escape of others during the war. Cut to spring, 1940: Viann has said goodbye to husband Antoine, who's off to hold the Maginot line against invading Germans. She returns to tending her small farm, Le Jardin, in the Loire Valley, teaching at the local school and coping with daughter Sophie’s adolescent rebellion. Soon, that world is upended: The Germans march into Paris and refugees flee south, overrunning Viann’s land. Her long-estranged younger sister, Isabelle, who has been kicked out of multiple convent schools, is sent to Le Jardin by Julien, their father in Paris, a drunken, decidedly unpaternal Great War veteran. As the depredations increase in the occupied zone—food rationing, systematic looting, and the billeting of a German officer, Capt. Beck, at Le Jardin—Isabelle’s outspokenness is a liability. She joins the Resistance, volunteering for dangerous duty: shepherding downed Allied airmen across the Pyrenees to Spain. Code-named the Nightingale, Isabelle will rescue many before she's captured. Meanwhile, Viann’s journey from passive to active resistance is less dramatic but no less wrenching. Hannah vividly demonstrates how the Nazis, through starvation, intimidation and barbarity both casual and calculated, demoralized the French, engineering a community collapse that enabled the deportations and deaths of more than 70,000 Jews. Hannah’s proven storytelling skills are ideally suited to depicting such cataclysmic events, but her tendency to sentimentalize undermines the gravitas of this tale.Still, a respectful and absorbing page-turner.
Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015
Page Count: 448
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014
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by Colleen Hoover ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 18, 2014
Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson.
Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty.Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.
Pub Date: March 18, 2014
Page Count: 384
Review Posted Online: May 6, 2014
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