THE DIVORCE

From an often flawed and fast-moving writer, a quasi-mythological moment of reflection.

Another fleeting glance at the deeply strange multitudes living in Aira’s mind palace.

In a delightful surprise, this brief novel is introduced by Patti Smith, who calls Aira “cosmically mischievous and profound.” She’s right; though this is just a palate cleanser for Aira, it's marked by not only his characteristically expressive language, but also his willingness to go just about anywhere with a narrative. Here, a recently divorced man named Kent—his name mentioned just once in a tale that moves at breakneck speed—decides to go to Buenos Aires for a month, leaving his daughter, Henriette, behind in Providence, Rhode Island. As he's chatting in a cafe with video artist Leticia, a new friend, the owner comes out to crank open the awning and drenches a man on the sidewalk with rainwater. The man turns out to be Enrique, who's obviously someone terribly important to Leticia. Aira always writes at the speed of sound, but the velocity here is particularly apparent, enough to be confusing at times. For a while, the narrative focuses on Leticia and Enrique and their providential escape from a fire that consumed the school where they met. Aira delves into the history of his disparate characters, especially Enrique’s involvement in the founding of an “Evolution Club.” Later, the tale introduces a sculptor’s apprentice named Jusepe, mortally wounded by trespasses inflicted upon him in childhood. Later Aira writes: “A clarification is in order here, for it is hard to understand how temporal succession could be denied like this precisely where fashion was moving so quickly, setting its stamp on the passing seasons, months and days more emphatically than anywhere else.” Among Aira’s seemingly ceaseless output, this book is a strikingly effective pause in a world that moves pretty fast these days.

From an often flawed and fast-moving writer, a quasi-mythological moment of reflection.

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8112-3093-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: New Directions

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 119


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

IT STARTS WITH US

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 119


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

Close Quickview