A sweeping, suspenseful murder tale that offers enough atmosphere, subplots, and vibrant secondary characters to make...

Winter Rage

A feud between the Mabry and Millard families in Ridgeway, Arkansas, leads to three murders, with consequences that haunt two families for five decades

In his new novel, McRaven (Build Me A Tower, 2016, etc.) explores life in the back hills of Arkansas, where it takes a special kind of inner strength and resolve to survive the soul-crushing poverty. Nate Prescott was orphaned at the age of 12 when both his parents died in an automobile accident. His mother’s younger sister, Andy (Millard) Henry, recently divorced from her cheating, truck driver husband Cam, takes Nate in and devotes her life to watching over him. Andy’s older brother Charlie, a fun-loving, irresponsible troublemaker, is also the beneficiary of her love and loyalty—at least whenever he returns from his latest adventures, usually broke. Andy and Nate manage to scratch out a bare subsistence on the dirt-poor farm that is Nate’s inheritance. Then there is wealthy, and bitter, Barry Mabry, who has never forgiven Andy for once rejecting him as a suitor. Now he contributes to the common gossip that she is a fallen woman because she divorced Cam. As the story opens, Charlie, Andy, and Nate are cutting down three trees that the Mabrys believe are on their side of the property line, rekindling a feud between the two families. When Barry is brutally murdered, Charlie and Andy are targeted as suspects. By the time two more killings are added to the toll, Andy and Nate realize they must flee the county in the middle of the night, selling off or leaving behind what meager possessions they have. The chase is on. Although the story features plenty of tension, the pace of the narrative is rather relaxed, with McRaven pausing to indulge in vivid descriptive passages that add color and texture. Of Nate’s grandfather, he writes: Elijah “was almost a caricature of the backwoods preacher, aging, with that beak of a nose that arrived places well before the rest of him.” But the frequent use of local dialect (“Don’t s’pose you’ns got a piece of hick’ry”), especially in the early sections, delays the process of sinking into the plot comfortably.

A sweeping, suspenseful murder tale that offers enough atmosphere, subplots, and vibrant secondary characters to make readers enjoy the leisurely pace.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-944962-28-9

Page Count: 404

Publisher: Secant Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2016

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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