Slight but fun. A little misguided, though, since everyone knows the Rolling Stones are the walking undead.

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PAUL IS UNDEAD

THE BRITISH ZOMBIE INVASION

In which the Fab Four reveal a fondness for munching on human brains in between gigs.

We’ve endured a flood of vampire books for the past few years, so it may be time to give zombies a chance to work their literary magic. Prolific ghostwriter and music journalist Goldsher (Modest Mouse: A Pretty Good Read, 2006, etc.) makes a reasonable case in this essentially trivial but entertaining novel, which posits that, way back in October 1940, the big cheese among a tribe of suppurating, gooey zombies that lived in the sewers of Liverpool stole newborn John Lennon away from his mother, Julia, and made him one of the bunch. Comments interlocutor and zombie-ologist Lyman Cosgrove: “Being that Lennon was all of five hours old when he was attacked by the First, I feel comfortable saying that the First used a spell on the baby rather than an assault.” Little Johnny knows no such niceties, and he quite capably takes his place among the Liverpudlian undead, who are the toppermost of the poppermost when it comes to the zombie pecking order—as Cosgrove notes, they’re skilled at hypnosis and telekinesis, and they can reattach any limb that happens to fall off, except for the heads. Now a young man and a veteran of a band that he wanted to call The Maggots (“I thought the Maggots was a brilliant name. Still do, actually”), John does a couple of big things: he resurrects Julia from the dead, and he recruits a sweet youth named Paul McCartney to help him take over the world—but not before making an unholy mess of his firm young flesh. And, with George (who, still a schoolboy, has to pester Paul to kill him) and Ringo, they take over the world, with no end of mayhem, giving new meaning to the notion of the primal scream. Goldsher turns in a classic rags-to-riches tale of aspiration and success that would do Horatio Alger proud, punctuated by no end of gore.

Slight but fun. A little misguided, though, since everyone knows the Rolling Stones are the walking undead.

Pub Date: June 22, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4391-7792-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Cheerfully engaging.

WHAT ALICE FORGOT

From Australian Moriarty (The Last Anniversary, 2006, etc.), domestic escapism about a woman whose temporary amnesia makes her re-examine what really matters to her.

Alice wakes from what she thinks is a dream, assuming she is a recently married 29-year-old expecting her first child. Actually she is 39, the mother of three and in the middle of an acrimonious custody battle with her soon-to-be ex-husband Nick. She’s fallen off her exercise bike, and the resulting bump on her head has not only erased her memory of the last 10 years but has also taken her psychologically back to a younger, more easygoing self at odds with the woman she gathers she has become. While Alice-at-29 is loving and playful if lacking ambition or self-confidence, Alice-at-39 is a highly efficient if too tightly wound supermom. She is also thin and rich since Nick now heads the company where she remembers him struggling in an entry-level position. Alice-at-29 cannot conceive that she and Nick would no longer be rapturously in love or that she and her adored older sister Elisabeth could be estranged, and she is shocked that her shy mother has married Nick’s bumptious father and taken up salsa dancing. She neither remembers nor recognizes her three children, each given a distinct if slightly too cute personality. Nor does she know what to make of the perfectly nice boyfriend Alice-at-39 has acquired. As memory gradually returns, Alice-at-29 initially misinterprets the scattered images and flashes of emotion, especially those concerning Gina, a woman who evidently caused the rift with Nick. Alice-at-29 assumes Gina was Nick’s mistress, only to discover that Gina was her best friend. Gina died in a freak car accident and in her honor, Alice-at-39 has organized mothers from the kids’ school to bake the largest lemon meringue pie on record. But Alice-at-29 senses that Gina may not have been a completely positive influence. Moriarty handles the two Alice consciousnesses with finesse and also delves into infertility issues through Elizabeth’s diary.

Cheerfully engaging.

Pub Date: June 2, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15718-9

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Amy Einhorn/Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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