A colorful story of relationships and how they change their participants’ perspectives on love.

DANCING IN THE DARK

A renowned psychotherapist helps people find paths back to love and begins to search for his own fulfillment in this debut novel.

Strauss allows the nuances and idiosyncrasies of a couple’s new relationship to unfold as they unknowingly confide in the same psychotherapist. Dr. Harry Salinger, who touts himself as a guru on relationships, espouses advice that he realizes he might do well to take himself. As he witnesses Jennifer’s and Jacques’ differing perspectives on their relationship, he starts to recognize the void in his own love life and the fact that he’s shut himself off from the possibility of spontaneous love. As he meets with Jennifer and Jacques individually, all three slowly transform into more open, trusting people. But as the relationship ebbs and flows, new conflicts emerge and trust begins to break down. When Jacques and Jennifer discover that they’ve both been seeing the same therapist—and that Salinger didn’t bother to disclose this—the book takes a sharp turn. Each character has to learn what it means to endure a relationship once the honeymoon phase is over and real feelings are at stake. Strauss delivers a fine book about parallel relationships that’s never tedious, thanks in part to sharp dialogue; at one point, for example, Jennifer describes having sex with Jacques as “making love to a hurricane.” With sharp dialogue and descriptive, hilarious dating and sex scenes, Strauss shows the world of Jennifer and Jacques as one of uncertainty, amusement, confusion and fun. The book crescendos with each character facing a choice to either stay open and take risks or to deny true love.

A colorful story of relationships and how they change their participants’ perspectives on love.  

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-1491709801

Page Count: 260

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2014

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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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