From Jackson (The View From Here, 1996; Walking Through Mirrors, 1998): an intriguing and well-written look at the nature of...


Can a black southern preppie survive in Harlem?

Mason Randolph puts off entering Stanford Law School for a year and heads for Manhattan, where he spots an ad for a shared rental in a Harlem townhouse and beats out the competition when the very attractive owner favors him over the other applicants. Maybe it’s because he looks a little dangerous (but not too dangerous) in his twisted dreadlocks. Maybe it’s because he changed his first name to something slightly tougher, Malik, after the homies on the corner razzed him for acting like a Huxtable. He’s got a great place to stay; now all he needs is a job so he can buy himself some baggy jeans and a bubble coat and start earning some street creds. Not that he’s wants his overbearing mother to know he’s swilling malt liquor and living with an older woman. Fortunately, Carmen England, his elegant landlady, seems to know everyone worth knowing, including lots of artists and other louche types. Malik escorts Carmen to fascinatingly weird parties and in his spare time explores Harlem. He ventures as far as Columbia University, where he befriends law student Malcolm, whose struggling single mother dishes up food in the university cafeteria to pay for his tuition. Malcolm’s friend Kyra is sexy and sassy—and Malik knows her heart surgeon father isn’t going to be impressed by a good-for-nothing drifter with a worthless credit card. He can’t decide which story to tell, and gives away too many clues to his real identity. Some of his new friends are simply too amoral to care—reinventing yourself is what New York is all about, right? But Kyra does care, and so does Carmen, whom Malik has dubbed the Queen of Harlem—and who turns out to be an imposter herself.

From Jackson (The View From Here, 1996; Walking Through Mirrors, 1998): an intriguing and well-written look at the nature of identity, whatever the color.

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-50295-8

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2002

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



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

Did you like this book?

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Finalist

  • Pulitzer Prize Winner


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet