Where the sun always shines, dark shadows will follow.



In Lisick’s (Yokohama Threeway: And Other Small Shames, 2013, etc.) debut novel, a former indie it girl comes to terms with the reality that she is no longer, in fact, it.

Her name is Edie. Or is it? The regulars at the bar think they know her, though they don’t. Edie’s been at this job, slinging the same old drinks, same old bar talk, “not doing shit,” really, for decades. She’s spent many a late night honing that skill, but now, at 45 years of age, she’s realizing she should’ve probably been sharpening others—like learning how to use a cellphone or, better yet, the internet. An erstwhile darling of the late-1990s underground party scene in San Francisco, Edie made bucking conformity her thing, so much so that when all her friends moved away and got jobs after the dot-com boom, she stubbornly stayed put in her sketchy Mission warehouse apartment. When her mother dies, Edie’s left to put her Silicon Valley ranch house on the market. As someone with an aversion to “adulting,” things don’t go over well for Lisick’s sulky protagonist. Tedious as it is to read about Edie’s self-inflicted struggles, Lisick’s languid prose has a magnetic pull to it (not dissimilar to the experience of watching a Noah Baumbach film). It’s pleasurable to tag along on Lisick’s winding tour through the Bay Area, even if the guide is kind of a drag. Oscillating between booze and boredom, Edie salts her wounds while bemoaning the “self-affirming inspirational platitude graffiti” that’s become rampant in her hometown. Ironically, though, Edie’s been avoiding clichés for so long that she’s inevitably become one. She does eventually learn how to navigate the web, but her self-awareness has a long way to go. Lisick’s stringent humor is what makes this tale worth reading, but the scant growth her character makes toward the book's end just doesn’t feel warranted.

Where the sun always shines, dark shadows will follow.

Pub Date: March 26, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7333672-0-2

Page Count: 244

Publisher: 7.13 Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


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

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