No contemporary poet is so lapidary as Hecht. That he can put such beauty at the service of a stringent ethic is his...

READ REVIEW

THE DARKNESS AND THE LIGHT

POEMS

A fiercely melancholic sequence of lyrics, odes, monologues, and translations, many of them written with the Biblical tales in mind. The severe rhythms and wild rhymes (“guano” is made to chime with “soprano”) make wonderfully baroque patterns—Bach partitas set stylishly to words. But music is only part of the festivities offered in Hecht’s work. His poems are also painterly, full of still lives, landscapes, and jewel-box miniatures. Lot’s wife remembers the “exquisite satisfactions” of her childhood in this way: “The iridescent labyrinth of the spider, / Its tethered tensor nest of polygons / puffed by the breeze to a little bellying sail— / Merely observing this gave infinite pleasure.” Hecht often figures the poet as a witness, and the infinite pleasures of observation are always mixed with more difficult moral concerns like passivity, historical atrocity, and individual despair. In “A Witness,” a “briny, tough, and thorned sea holly” watches as “The ocean rams itself in pitched assault / And spastic rage to which there is no halt . . . / At scenes of sacrifice, unrelieved pain, / figured in froth, aquamarine and black.” That pain should go unrelieved is Hecht’s way of acknowledging poetry’s limits and history’s wounds; the tough holly is his protest against both. Another tactic for combating forgetfulness is to resurrect a voice. Hecht’s most well known poem of this type is “The Maid of Dover” (after Arnold), and in the new collection he approaches those heights with the savage “Judith”: “It was easy. Holofernes was pretty tight; / I had only to show some cleavage and he was done for.”

No contemporary poet is so lapidary as Hecht. That he can put such beauty at the service of a stringent ethic is his continual gift.

Pub Date: June 28, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-41194-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

Did you like this book?

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

ALMOST JUST FRIENDS

Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more