by Avni Doshi ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 26, 2021
A landmark portrait of toxic parenting and its tangled aftermath.
Dark emotions color a daughter’s complex connection to her mother in a striking first novel that delves deep into family bonds.
“I would be lying if I said my mother’s misery has never given me pleasure.” This is the devastating opening sentence of American writer Doshi’s provocative debut, which offers a fierce, compelling depiction of the painfully intertwined lives of a mother and daughter in Pune, India. Tara, the mother, was neglectful and careless; Antara, the daughter, will become her unwilling but affixed life companion. Abandoning a gloomy marriage to join an ashram and become the lover of Baba, its leader, Tara exhibits a pattern of inadequate parenting that continues, four years later, when Baba replaces her with a younger model. Tara and Antara, now 7, are next to be found begging outside the Club in Pune, eventually to be rescued by Antara’s father, who, meanwhile, has divorced Tara and is remarrying. These and other episodes from the past—including Tara’s later love affair with an unreliable artist and Antara’s lonely months spent at an abusive boarding school—are sandwiched between slices of the contemporary narrative. Here Tara is sliding into dementia and Antara, comfortably married to Dilip, is trying to care for the parent whose care of her was so disastrous. Antara’s voice is frank, skeptical, even comical while exposing the fragile psychology life has dealt her. Above all, she scrutinizes the unbreakable/unbearable link to a figure who haunts and half subsumes her, a razor’s edge which Doshi captures in simple, effective prose: “Even now, when I…want to be without her, when I know her presence is the source of my unhappiness—that learned longing still rises, that craving for soft, white cotton that has frayed at the edge.”A landmark portrait of toxic parenting and its tangled aftermath.
Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021
Page Count: 240
Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020
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BOOK TO SCREEN
by Susan Mallery ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2022
A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.
Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.
Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.
Pub Date: May 31, 2022
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022
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by Barbara Kingsolver ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 18, 2022
An angry, powerful book seething with love and outrage for a community too often stereotyped or ignored.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2022
New York Times Bestseller
Pulitzer Prize Winner
Inspired by David Copperfield, Kingsolver crafts a 21st-century coming-of-age story set in America’s hard-pressed rural South.
It’s not necessary to have read Dickens’ famous novel to appreciate Kingsolver’s absorbing tale, but those who have will savor the tough-minded changes she rings on his Victorian sentimentality while affirming his stinging critique of a heartless society. Our soon-to-be orphaned narrator’s mother is a substance-abusing teenage single mom who checks out via OD on his 11th birthday, and Demon’s cynical, wised-up voice is light-years removed from David Copperfield’s earnest tone. Yet readers also see the yearning for love and wells of compassion hidden beneath his self-protective exterior. Like pretty much everyone else in Lee County, Virginia, hollowed out economically by the coal and tobacco industries, he sees himself as someone with no prospects and little worth. One of Kingsolver’s major themes, hit a little too insistently, is the contempt felt by participants in the modern capitalist economy for those rooted in older ways of life. More nuanced and emotionally engaging is Demon’s fierce attachment to his home ground, a place where he is known and supported, tested to the breaking point as the opiate epidemic engulfs it. Kingsolver’s ferocious indictment of the pharmaceutical industry, angrily stated by a local girl who has become a nurse, is in the best Dickensian tradition, and Demon gives a harrowing account of his descent into addiction with his beloved Dori (as naïve as Dickens’ Dora in her own screwed-up way). Does knowledge offer a way out of this sinkhole? A committed teacher tries to enlighten Demon’s seventh grade class about how the resource-rich countryside was pillaged and abandoned, but Kingsolver doesn’t air-brush his students’ dismissal of this history or the prejudice encountered by this African American outsider and his White wife. She is an art teacher who guides Demon toward self-expression, just as his friend Tommy provokes his dawning understanding of how their world has been shaped by outside forces and what he might be able to do about it.An angry, powerful book seething with love and outrage for a community too often stereotyped or ignored.
Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022
Page Count: 560
Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022
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