JUDAS

Lovely, though with a doleful view of the possibilities of peace, love, and understanding, whether among nations or within...

Pensive, sometimes even brooding novel by Oz (Between Friends, 2014, etc.), widely considered Israel’s greatest living writer.

If there had been no Judas, there would have been no crucifixion and no Christianity. Should Christians—and Jesus, for that matter—be grateful to Judas, then? This question and a host of related queries resound through the halls of Gershom Wald’s Jerusalem apartment, its floors groaning under the burden of books and memories. Shmuel Ash is a bit more than a shlimazel, but he’s had a run of bad luck all the same: his parents’ business has failed, meaning that his allowance has disappeared, and meanwhile his girlfriend has gone off and married someone else. Apart from burying himself in a thesis on Jewish views of Jesus, what else can he do? Well, for one thing, he can fall in love with the sizzling widow who also lives in Wald’s place, where Shmuel has been taken on as a kind of live-in intellectual foil. Why Atalia lives there requires some ferreting out, and suffice it to say that her presence involves echoes of betrayal, perceived or real: “They called him a traitor,” says Wald of still another shadowy presence in that darkened, bookish house, “because he fraternized with Arabs.” Oz does not overwork what could be an oppressive and too-obvious theme, and he is the equal of Kundera in depicting the kind of love that is accompanied more by sighs of impatience and reproval than of desire satisfied. One thing is for sure: just as Judas is foreordained to betray Jesus, Shmuel is destined to fall for Atalia; even the cynical, world-weary Wald allows that he should surrender to her: “You no longer have any choice.” Naturally, the ending isn’t quite happy—we would not be in the land of Oz otherwise—but it is perfectly consonant with the story leading to it.

Lovely, though with a doleful view of the possibilities of peace, love, and understanding, whether among nations or within households.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-46404-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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IT ENDS WITH US

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of...

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Hoover’s (November 9, 2015, etc.) latest tackles the difficult subject of domestic violence with romantic tenderness and emotional heft.

At first glance, the couple is edgy but cute: Lily Bloom runs a flower shop for people who hate flowers; Ryle Kincaid is a surgeon who says he never wants to get married or have kids. They meet on a rooftop in Boston on the night Ryle loses a patient and Lily attends her abusive father’s funeral. The provocative opening takes a dark turn when Lily receives a warning about Ryle’s intentions from his sister, who becomes Lily’s employee and close friend. Lily swears she’ll never end up in another abusive home, but when Ryle starts to show all the same warning signs that her mother ignored, Lily learns just how hard it is to say goodbye. When Ryle is not in the throes of a jealous rage, his redeeming qualities return, and Lily can justify his behavior: “I think we needed what happened on the stairwell to happen so that I would know his past and we’d be able to work on it together,” she tells herself. Lily marries Ryle hoping the good will outweigh the bad, and the mother-daughter dynamics evolve beautifully as Lily reflects on her childhood with fresh eyes. Diary entries fancifully addressed to TV host Ellen DeGeneres serve as flashbacks to Lily’s teenage years, when she met her first love, Atlas Corrigan, a homeless boy she found squatting in a neighbor’s house. When Atlas turns up in Boston, now a successful chef, he begs Lily to leave Ryle. Despite the better option right in front of her, an unexpected complication forces Lily to cut ties with Atlas, confront Ryle, and try to end the cycle of abuse before it’s too late. The relationships are portrayed with compassion and honesty, and the author’s note at the end that explains Hoover’s personal connection to the subject matter is a must-read.

Packed with riveting drama and painful truths, this book powerfully illustrates the devastation of abuse—and the strength of the survivors.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5011-1036-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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