A thoroughly satisfying classic for those who love long, slow Victorian family dramas.

THE DUKE'S CHILDREN

The Duke of Omnium’s eponymous children test his mettle by falling in with crooked gamblers, losing their hearts to commoners, and backing the wrong party in this newly unabridged version of a classic by one of the great novelists of Victorian England.

Poor Plantagenet Palliser, Duke of Omnium! His beloved duchess, the strong-willed Lady Glencora, has died suddenly, leaving him in charge of what today’s bloggers would call the family’s emotional labor: guiding his equally strong-willed children as they make a series of what he sees as irresponsible decisions. Although the Pallisers have always been Liberals—the present duke, in fact, served his party as prime minister in a previous novel—the eldest son and heir, young Lord Silverbridge, has decided to stand for Parliament as a Conservative. To top it off, after telling the duke he intends to marry an earl’s daughter, Silverbridge falls in love with—horrors!—an American. The duke’s daughter, the beautiful and virtuous Lady Mary, has also fallen in love with someone inappropriate: Mr. Francis Tregear, the Conservative younger son of a Cornish nobody. The late duchess supported the match, but she’s no longer around to coax her husband into it or dry her daughter’s tears when he refuses. Then the youngest Palliser, Lord Gerald, gets himself thrown out of Cambridge for sneaking off to the races and finds himself unable to cover his gambling debts. When the novel was first published in 1880, Trollope’s publisher insisted he chop it from four volumes to three. Now a team of scholars has combed through the manuscript and restored the missing 65,000 words, giving modern readers the chance to amuse themselves by guessing which they were or which they should have been: the endless fox-hunting chapters? The gravely satirical parliamentary scenes? This is the final novel in Trollope’s Palliser series, and readers of the previous five will enjoy glimpses of their important characters, such as Phineas Finn (of Phineas Finn and Phineas Redux). But Trollope’s attentive psychological portraits—especially of the shy, inflexible, honorable duke and of the ineffectively manipulative Lady Mabel Grex, the one-time sweetheart of both Francis Tregear and Lord Silverbridge—make the book stand on its own.

A thoroughly satisfying classic for those who love long, slow Victorian family dramas.

Pub Date: April 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-90781-8

Page Count: 840

Publisher: Everyman’s Library

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

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ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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