Engaging leap-of-faith answers to the big questions.

THE NEW DAY

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY, ENTREPRENEUR'S GUIDE, & SPIRITUAL PRIMER

Entrepreneurial advice and astonishing tales from a tire company founder and pitchman retracing his spiritual journey.

Charles “Chuck” Curcio first made his mark starring in his own late-night television commercials for Tire Kingdom, the highly successful South Florida–based company he built from scratch. The inventive musical parodies and his colorful personality have achieved near-cultish adoration; the ads are still viewable on YouTube. But in this cosmological autobiography, Curcio says he always had other talents, particularly as a healer and psychic. One October morning in 1995, his life changes forever when he pauses beneath a banyan tree while riding a golf cart across his 10-acre Jupiter Island oceanfront estate. From out of the blue—and out of the author’s own mouth—God speaks to him, asking if he is ready to fulfill his purpose as a divine servant. It’s the dawning of a new day, as referenced in the title. So, Curcio embarks on a fantastic—arguably a bit too fantastic—journey of metaphysical discovery that, he says, is now more open than ever for all humanity to join. His path leads him to the Great Pyramid in Egypt to the healers and channelers of Brazil and elsewhere, and ultimately to Delphi University of Spiritual Studies in Georgia, where he’s a director and teacher. Along the way, he leaves his wife and children for his teacher and soul mate, a striking blonde with exceptional psychic credentials whose entry into Curcio’s life had been foretold to him. Curcio doesn’t merely believe in what the earthbound would call miracles; he witnesses and performs them frequently and even suggests that his healing work extends to curing the gravely ill and raising the dead. A chapter entitled “Signs and Wonders” begins with the author’s bare back to the sun as he absorbs what he calls the Christ energies, “which many believe emanate from the Sun.” This spiritualist path will be a revelation to the uninitiated, as will many of the book’s other esoteric, believe-it-or-not pronouncements. Gratuitously over-the-top asides may further raise doubts about the veracity of the whole. In one example, Curcio says he can send love over telephone lines, such that loved ones on the other end feel their receivers warming from the abundance of love energy. The latter part of the book is pure Christian–Eastern mystic theology, where explanations of reincarnation and karma appear to show clear understanding of these theories. Why did God come out of the void in the first place? As He tells Curcio, “Charles, I just couldn’t contain my Self.”

Engaging leap-of-faith answers to the big questions.

Pub Date: May 30, 2012

ISBN: 978-0578105567

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Delphi University Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 7, 2012

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...

SUMMER ISLAND

Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in White society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so Black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her White persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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