Inspired personal journeys that, even when traversing other worlds, stay grounded in the one readers know.


A Dream of India


In this debut collection of short stories, characters experience spiritual awakenings through dreams and reminiscences.

An epiphany, it seems, can come about by simply remembering. Such is the case for the unnamed narrator of “Gravel and Fern,” who perceives his wife in an entirely different light only after she’s dead. Memory is often a catalyst in these tales, ultimately sparking Vietnamese soldier Steele’s religious turn in “Gold Leaf” or prefacing the shocking event that befalls Uccello, a baker recalling someone he’s lost, in “Dough.” Characters find insight in dreams as well, dream imagery that Frode generally augments with something more tangible. Nathan of “In the Darkness of the Dark Night,” for example, has a vision of falling stars that he later sees as helicopters—like an invading Army. Metaphors are unsubtle but never clumsily so, such as the serene “Levees,” in which a monk, Brother Paul, watching the flooding of orchards he tends, is flooded with recollections of lost loved ones. In the same vein, real-world elements that usually accompany the stories’ spirituality are both suitable and engrossing; in “Above the Tree Line,” an overnight backpacking trip up a mountain is just as therapeutic for the doctor as it is for the patient. There is, however, occasional repetition: “Spice,” in which Herbert’s beloved, memory-triggering spices are opposed by his hateful stepfather, Frank, is immediately followed by “Iridescence,” with Carl seriously contemplating killing his own abusive stepfather, Chet. Frode recurrently lingers on descriptive passages, as many characters lament the past, including Brother Clayton, who in “Clay Bodies” focuses on a pottery wheel, its precision reminding him of his days as a mathematics professor. The writing’s steeped in lyricism, regardless of content: sights at the farmers’ market in “Slow” entail “thin Botox women carrying Chihuahua dogs in their bared skeletal arms, an ultimate fighter type hazarding a leashed but prohibited pit bull through the crowd,” and so on. The book closes with “The Door Maker,” in which the dream-motivated title character tries to build a door to various dimensions. It’s a befitting conclusion, blurring the line between reality and mysticism.

Inspired personal journeys that, even when traversing other worlds, stay grounded in the one readers know.

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-312-54537-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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