For patient readers interested in postcolonial India, Nardah offers a rare, honest glimpse of how many middle-class Indians...


We are all Little Gods:


Fearless and gritty, Nardah’s debut novel chronicles life at an Indian boarding school in this coming-of-age saga.

During his first days at school, Krsna faces nonstop abuse at the hands of the prefects. Older students beat and humiliate incoming freshmen, and there is no escape from their torment. But Krsna is not alone: he meets the “cultivated” Muslim Jehangir, working-class bully Om, French-speaking Blackie, and Koshy, an effeminate sports prodigy. At the top of the social ladder stands Ralph Forster, a conflicted Englishman with a host of family problems, who serves as housemaster. As Krsna grows older, he toughens up and learns to navigate the school’s cliques and hypocrisy. Just as Krsna’s father advises him to keep a stiff upper lip, he learns about the school’s secret sexual rites: boys seduce and molest each other, then extend their salacious behavior to any girls they can find, including Forster’s daughter. Nardah writes in dense run-on sentences, breaking up the blocks of exposition with terse dialogue. The present-tense descriptions often sound stream-of-conscious: “Saying a girl’s like a shadow, follow her she runs, run from her she follows you, Jehangir adds dames are wont to say no with their lips, with their eyes they say yes, with nets you catch birds and with presents girls.” However monotonous and overwritten, the book still offers an unflinching look at boyhood. The story lays plain the many cultural conflicts within modern India, from classism and exploitation to religious discrimination and gender inequality. The story accepts abortion, violent hazing, and sexual experimentation as parts of life. Despite the savage curriculum, Krsna becomes increasingly patriotic, especially when he learns that Albert Einstein admired India. The author never overtly condemns this system, and although the book has its share of unwanted pregnancies and fatal accidents, readers might expect more of an overarching tragedy. Instead, the boys simply evolve into men, and the cycle starts over.

For patient readers interested in postcolonial India, Nardah offers a rare, honest glimpse of how many middle-class Indians grow up.

Pub Date: N/A


Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2015

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.


Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed...

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Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others.

Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it.

A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5387-4813-8

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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