by Andromeda Romano-Lax ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 5, 2018
A well-written, entertaining novel that both enacts and subverts the tropes of android fiction.
A Filipino care worker’s livelihood is threatened by an android in future Japan.
The year is 2029, and in Japan, technology rules every aspect of life. But Angelica Navarro still provides an essential service to her employer, Sayoko Itou, an elderly woman rapidly approaching her 100th birthday. She is a caregiver, closely monitoring Sayoko’s health, preparing her food, and helping her in even more basic ways. But when Sayoko’s son arranges for a new android prototype to be delivered to Sayoko’s home, Angelica begins to worry about her future. Sayoko, normally technology averse, is soon taken with the android and begins telling him long-suppressed stories about her childhood that even her son does not know. The android, who names himself Hiro, develops according to Sayoko’s needs and seems to outdo Angelica at every turn. Angelica has other problems to contend with: debt to pay back to her uncle who helped her immigrate to Japan, worrying news about her brother in Alaska, and an unexpected medical problem of her own. But the longer she fights against Hiro, the more she begins to wonder whether he might not be the enemy she initially suspected after all. This sci-fi tale by Romano-Lax (Behave, 2016) is hardly groundbreaking: In concocting the charming, wholly human Hiro, she draws heavily on other android literature and cinema, most notably Blade Runner. But, refreshingly, her spin on the genre focuses on an elderly woman and a male android, a dynamic that provides the novel with its most original and engaging material. Though the plot is somewhat lacking in incident, the thoughtful depictions of old age, memory, and trauma are refreshing. Angelica’s actions are sometimes frustrating or inexplicable, and the worldbuilding is wonderfully specific one moment and maddeningly vague the next. But on the whole, this is a compelling, enjoyable addition to the genre.A well-written, entertaining novel that both enacts and subverts the tropes of android fiction.
Pub Date: June 5, 2018
Page Count: 400
Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018
Share your opinion of this book
by Max Brooks ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2020
A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).
A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.
Pub Date: June 16, 2020
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020
Share your opinion of this book
More About This Book
BOOK TO SCREEN
A deeply satisfying novel, both sensuously vivid and remarkably poignant.
Norwegian novelist Jacobsen folds a quietly powerful coming-of-age story into a rendition of daily life on one of Norway’s rural islands a hundred years ago in a novel that was shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize.
Ingrid Barrøy, her father, Hans, mother, Maria, grandfather Martin, and slightly addled aunt Barbro are the owners and sole inhabitants of Barrøy Island, one of numerous small family-owned islands in an area of Norway barely touched by the outside world. The novel follows Ingrid from age 3 through a carefree early childhood of endless small chores, simple pleasures, and unquestioned familial love into her more ambivalent adolescence attending school off the island and becoming aware of the outside world, then finally into young womanhood when she must make difficult choices. Readers will share Ingrid’s adoration of her father, whose sense of responsibility conflicts with his romantic nature. He adores Maria, despite what he calls her “la-di-da” ways, and is devoted to Ingrid. Twice he finds work on the mainland for his sister, Barbro, but, afraid she’ll be unhappy, he brings her home both times. Rooted to the land where he farms and tied to the sea where he fishes, Hans struggles to maintain his family’s hardscrabble existence on an island where every repair is a struggle against the elements. But his efforts are Sisyphean. Life as a Barrøy on Barrøy remains precarious. Changes do occur in men’s and women’s roles, reflected in part by who gets a literal chair to sit on at meals, while world crises—a war, Sweden’s financial troubles—have unexpected impact. Yet the drama here occurs in small increments, season by season, following nature’s rhythm through deaths and births, moments of joy and deep sorrow. The translator’s decision to use roughly translated phrases in conversation—i.e., “Tha’s goen’ nohvar” for "You’re going nowhere")—slows the reading down at first but ends up drawing readers more deeply into the world of Barrøy and its prickly, intensely alive inhabitants.A deeply satisfying novel, both sensuously vivid and remarkably poignant.
Pub Date: April 7, 2020
Page Count: 272
Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020
Share your opinion of this book
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!