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A revelatory account of not-well-known assaults on the rights of an Indigenous group.

A traditional culture deals with threats from inside and outside its tightknit community.

Kick-started by the disturbing poaching and slaughter of a reindeer that was part of a Sámi family's herd in remote northern Sweden, Laestadius’ saga details the inequities faced by the contemporary Indigenous Sámi population. Elsa, a 9-year-old to whom the murdered reindeer had been entrusted, is threatened by the hunter and scared into not revealing his identity to her family or authorities. Previous reindeer slaughters had gone unpursued by local police since this sort of crime against the Sámi (and their way of life) was considered mere theft. Frustrated by the seeming passivity with which the group accepts the situation, Elsa sets upon her own path as she grows into adulthood: She questions traditional gender roles as well as the failure of local police to apprehend the hunter who is torturing and killing her community’s reindeer. The legacies of long-held social prejudices against the Indigenous group—racism, economic insecurity, and the traumas borne by the community’s elders who had been removed from the group in childhood and sent to “nomad schools”—continue to haunt Sámi life with devastating effects. Elsa must reconcile her own quest for justice with the need for some in the group to just survive. Looming over the tale, which unfolds over the course of more than a decade, is the specter of climate change and its impacts on the traditional Sámi herding methods. Laestadius, who is Sámi and of Tornedalian descent, indicates in her acknowledgements that the novel is based upon actual occurrences in Sápmi territory. Willson-Broyles’ translation from Swedish is matter-of-fact and incorporates many phrases and words from the Sámi language.

A revelatory account of not-well-known assaults on the rights of an Indigenous group.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2023

ISBN: 9781668007167

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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Well-paced excitement as the Ryans come through again.

Echoes of Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October reverberate four decades after the late author’s famous debut.

In 1984, Dimitri Gorov plans to deliver details of the advanced Soviet submarine Red October to the Americans, but Marko Ramius has already defected and delivered the boat itself. Gorov dies and now, decades later, his son Konstantin captains the Belgorod, Russia’s most advanced sub. Said sub goes rogue along with its nuclear-tipped torpedoes that can penetrate American defenses and blow up some of our coastal cities, or “wipe the American Atlantic fleet off the map.” Driven by multiple grievances, Konstantin wants to do just that, but a painful illness may bring him down. Meanwhile, young Navy lieutenant Kathleen (Katie, please) Ryan plays one of several key roles in trying to stop World War III. She’s smart and appealing and tries hard to downplay the fact that she’s President Jack Ryan’s daughter—“Daddy’s little girl,” as a snarky officer says to her face. In one nail-biting scene a helicopter tries to transfer her from a ship to a submarine in the open ocean. As with every novel in the series, readers are treated to a ton of technical details and asides that slow the reading occasionally, but without which it would not be a Clancy yarn. And of course, there is the obligatory establishment of what fine all-around Americans the Ryans are. Plenty of well-crafted characters, Russian and American, make up the cast. War begins to brew as a Russian MiG is shot down and troubles threaten to escalate. At one point, Katie “felt like the entire world was barreling toward oblivion and she was the only one who could stop it.” But wait: Late in the game, Konstantin muses, “There is nothing the Americans can do to stop me.” Who is right? Hmm, that’s a tough one. In her proud father’s mind, Lieutenant Ryan becomes “Katie—my little girl turned naval officer overnight.”

Well-paced excitement as the Ryans come through again.

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9780593422878

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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This tender, strange treatise on getting out from the “prefab structures” of a conventional life is quintessentially July.

A woman set to embark on a cross-country road trip instead drives to a nearby motel and becomes obsessed with a local man.

According to Harris, the husband of the narrator of July’s novel, everyone in life is either a Parker or a Driver. “Drivers,” Harris says, “are able to maintain awareness and engagement even when life is boring.” The narrator knows she’s a Parker, someone who needs “a discrete task that seems impossible, something…for which they might receive applause.” For the narrator, a “semi-famous” bisexual woman in her mid-40s living in Los Angeles, this task is her art; it’s only by haphazard chance that she’s fallen into a traditional straight marriage and motherhood. When the narrator needs to be in New York for work, she decides on a solo road trip as a way of forcing herself to be more of a metaphorical Driver. She makes it all of 30 minutes when, for reasons she doesn’t quite understand, she pulls over in Monrovia. After encountering a man who wipes her windows at a gas station and then chats with her at the local diner, she checks in to a motel, where she begins an all-consuming intimacy with him. For the first time in her life, she feels truly present. But she can only pretend to travel so long before she must go home and figure out how to live the rest of a life that she—that any woman in midlife—has no map for. July’s novel is a characteristically witty, startlingly intimate take on Dante’s “In the middle of life’s journey, I found myself in a dark wood”—if the dark wood were the WebMD site for menopause and a cheap room at the Excelsior Motel.

This tender, strange treatise on getting out from the “prefab structures” of a conventional life is quintessentially July.

Pub Date: May 14, 2024

ISBN: 9780593190265

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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