THE CLOCKWORK TESTAMENT, OR, ENDERBY'S END

Back in Enderby (1968) the hero was himself subjected to a psychic retooling much like Clockwork's Alex: Enderby Poet — turned Hogg and Barman — could only reconstitute himself as Hoggerby, last seen tending bar in Tangier. Between that book and this, he has reverted to his old name and habit of poetizing in the loo, and has crossed paths with some movie people. His screenplay, based on a poem of G.M. Hopkins, becomes a sort of big box-office seat-wetter that gets writers invited to teach in New York. Thus, art imitating life, Enderby's experience and attitudes swing into plumb with Burgess'. Enderby arrives on the Upper West Side, dazed and hyper-lexical in a hand-me-down Edwardian topcoat, grappling kindergartenishly with brand names, reg. U.S. Pat. Off., and is preoccupied now with a long poem about Pelagius, another British innocent in cosmopolis, who argued for reason and free will vs. St. Augustine's decadent predestination. A very good and relevant question which the City throws back at him, in gross forms, from all angles — the fragments of urban collapse are magnetized briefly by hostility to the artist, who is out of it. His open-admissions students of creative writing, in their contempt for the triviality of art, threaten hit inscape (Hopkins); pompous columnists and glandular TV men charge him with abuse of social influence, to which he rises with the intelligibility of a chicken; and finally the last of his many death threats actualizes in the form of a mild suburban wife who has suffered once too often the effects of sublimation. Even dead, Enderby is still alive and whelmingly there. Brilliant in malice, but also, oddest bloody thing, in truth, with even a whiff of tenderness. Enderby has filled out and, like art by God, deserves to live.

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 1974

ISBN: 0070089728

Page Count: 161

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1974

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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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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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