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A tender, wry homage to Native American wisdom and lore.

A lyrical tale of life on the Rez.

British-born Fuller (Leaving Before the Rains Come, 2015, etc.), who has written several captivating memoirs about growing up in Africa as well as a biography, of sorts, about the short life of a cowboy, makes her fiction debut with a story set on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Now living in Wyoming, Fuller visited the reservation in 2011 to witness the annual commemoration of the murder of Crazy Horse, where she felt an “unexpected homecoming.” In short chapters and spare language, Fuller spins a narrative that reads like a parable about two markedly different cousins, born within a month of each other: the contemplative Rick Overlooking Horse, “a child, and then a man, of shockingly few words”; and the volatile You Choose Watson, “half Cowboy, half Indian,” and all trouble. Severely burned by friendly fire when he was in the Army, Rick Overlooking Horse (as in a fairy tale, Fuller always refers to him by his full name) returned home and moved far out in the desert, refusing his military pension or disability allowance, which he called “the diseased currency of the White Man.” Eking out a living selling herbal medicine, he earned a reputation as a sage. When people came to him “with their wounded hearts and curdled souls,” he gently guided them “out of all the noisy unbecoming we do between birth and death.” Rick Overlooking Horse did not become the Lakota Oglala’s shaman or chief: he “simply became.” You Choose, though, boiled with anger: “it was as if everything that had happened to him—or failed to happen to him—turned toxic in his brain, flooded his veins with urgency.” Not surprisingly, he ends up in prison. Twins orphaned at birth; You Choose’s unexpected release from jail; a protest siege; and a death propel a plot that gets overly complicated at the end. But Fuller is interested less in events than kinship (“rocks are grandfathers, plants are nations”), forgiveness, and “mild spiritual epiphanies.”

A tender, wry homage to Native American wisdom and lore.

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2334-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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The story's very ambiguity steadily feeds its mysteriousness and power, and Danielewski's mastery of postmodernist and...

An amazingly intricate and ambitious first novel - ten years in the making - that puts an engrossing new spin on the traditional haunted-house tale.

Texts within texts, preceded by intriguing introductory material and followed by 150 pages of appendices and related "documents" and photographs, tell the story of a mysterious old house in a Virginia suburb inhabited by esteemed photographer-filmmaker Will Navidson, his companion Karen Green (an ex-fashion model), and their young children Daisy and Chad.  The record of their experiences therein is preserved in Will's film The Davidson Record - which is the subject of an unpublished manuscript left behind by a (possibly insane) old man, Frank Zampano - which falls into the possession of Johnny Truant, a drifter who has survived an abusive childhood and the perverse possessiveness of his mad mother (who is institutionalized).  As Johnny reads Zampano's manuscript, he adds his own (autobiographical) annotations to the scholarly ones that already adorn and clutter the text (a trick perhaps influenced by David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest) - and begins experiencing panic attacks and episodes of disorientation that echo with ominous precision the content of Davidson's film (their house's interior proves, "impossibly," to be larger than its exterior; previously unnoticed doors and corridors extend inward inexplicably, and swallow up or traumatize all who dare to "explore" their recesses).  Danielewski skillfully manipulates the reader's expectations and fears, employing ingeniously skewed typography, and throwing out hints that the house's apparent malevolence may be related to the history of the Jamestown colony, or to Davidson's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a dying Vietnamese child stalked by a waiting vulture.  Or, as "some critics [have suggested,] the house's mutations reflect the psychology of anyone who enters it."

The story's very ambiguity steadily feeds its mysteriousness and power, and Danielewski's mastery of postmodernist and cinema-derived rhetoric up the ante continuously, and stunningly.  One of the most impressive excursions into the supernatural in many a year.

Pub Date: March 6, 2000

ISBN: 0-375-70376-4

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2000

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The Brat Pack meets The Bacchae in this precious, way-too-long, and utterly unsuspenseful town-and-gown murder tale. A bunch of ever-so-mandarin college kids in a small Vermont school are the eager epigones of an aloof classics professor, and in their exclusivity and snobbishness and eagerness to please their teacher, they are moved to try to enact Dionysian frenzies in the woods. During the only one that actually comes off, a local farmer happens upon them—and they kill him. But the death isn't ruled a murder—and might never have been if one of the gang—a cadging sybarite named Bunny Corcoran—hadn't shown signs of cracking under the secret's weight. And so he too is dispatched. The narrator, a blank-slate Californian named Richard Pepen chronicles the coverup. But if you're thinking remorse-drama, conscience masque, or even semi-trashy who'll-break-first? page-turner, forget it: This is a straight gee-whiz, first-to-have-ever-noticed college novel—"Hampden College, as a body, was always strangely prone to hysteria. Whether from isolation, malice, or simple boredom, people there were far more credulous and excitable than educated people are generally thought to be, and this hermetic, overheated atmosphere made it a thriving black petri dish of melodrama and distortion." First-novelist Tartt goes muzzy when she has to describe human confrontations (the murder, or sex, or even the ping-ponging of fear), and is much more comfortable in transcribing aimless dorm-room paranoia or the TV shows that the malefactors anesthetize themselves with as fate ticks down. By telegraphing the murders, Tartt wants us to be continually horrified at these kids—while inviting us to semi-enjoy their manneristic fetishes and refined tastes. This ersatz-Fitzgerald mix of moralizing and mirror-looking (Jay McInerney shook and poured the shaker first) is very 80's—and in Tartt's strenuous version already seems dated, formulaic. Les Nerds du Mal—and about as deep (if not nearly as involving) as a TV movie.

Pub Date: Sept. 16, 1992

ISBN: 1400031702

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1992

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