An absorbing story about both the supportive and destructive aspects of family entanglements.

Kate and the Kid

A small child’s obvious need puts a world-weary New Yorker in touch with her own vulnerability and capacity for love.

When she first meets young Jenny Gilmour, Kate Andersen has lost her publishing job and her high-powered lawyer boyfriend in the same week, and she is in no mood to be motherly. However, when her neighbor Sally McKean introduces her to the 6-year-old she is babysitting indefinitely, the strange, silent girl tugs at her sympathies, and, almost against her will, Kate finds herself reaching out to Jenny. The lonely child responds to Kate’s simple kindness and slowly emerges from her shell. Kate begins to get some freelance work, and her boyfriend, Roger, calls and apologizes. Just when Kate’s life seems to be back on track, Jenny’s past intrudes in the form of a scheming absentee mother and a gangster who claims to be her father. Determined to protect the child who has become important to her, Kate is drawn into legal problems, physical danger, and the threat of losing Roger again. This engrossing romantic adventure combines mystery and psychological drama in an intricate study of family relationships, economic class, and child abuse, the sometimes-casual portrayal of which is disturbing. Sally, who is presented as basically good-hearted, if rough around the edges, constantly refers to Jenny as “Creephead” and almost always curses at her. Rothman-Hicks and Hicks (Weave a Murderous Web, 2016, etc.) avoid offering simple solutions, and the characters are often the victims of circumstance as well as their own failings. An emotionally incisive ending sidesteps pat resolutions.

An absorbing story about both the supportive and destructive aspects of family entanglements.

Pub Date: April 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61309-869-1

Page Count: 278

Publisher: Wings ePress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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