A VIEW FROM THE BORDERLINE

A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES

Motley stories that engage, provoke, and entertain.

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A collection of tales that involve a quirky hodgepodge of comedy, romance, and satire from the author of A Shot of Malaria (2014).

In the opening story in this book, “Silver Slum Dog,” Leonard meets Hilda at a horse racetrack. The new acquaintances seem to connect, but Leonard may be too preoccupied with validating his betting system despite Hilda’s instinctual skill at picking winners—a situation described in a lighthearted tone, which all the tales herein showcase in some capacity but not every story maintains. In “Eloi Reduction,” Red Pupkin, a drunk well known to authorities, is determined to get into a popular Hollywood Boulevard club and simply dashes past the gatekeepers. That amusing setup turns horrifying when a police officer chases him—and encounters a scene of shockingly sadistic violence. Some of the author’s satire shows wit even when it’s bleak. In the case of “The Parable of the Nerd & the Antelope,” antelopes in Africa introduce human ideas into their midst but, like humanity, are soon in danger of spiraling into war and violence. Souby’s breezy prose eases readers into the assorted narratives, though it’s most effective with the handful of varied love stories. The titular tale, “Christa’s Case: A View From the Borderline,” is a romance between prep school students in 1973, one of whom a doctor has diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder. This story is followed by one of love lost; in “Attack of the Poker Face,” Teddy is certain he understands how his wife tips her hand, a “little tell with her left nostril whenever she was bluffing,” and he uses this conviction to prove she’s having an affair. Souby periodically returns to a theme of warmongering humans versus the more peaceful animal kingdom; though the collection leans toward despondency, his final two stories end the book on positive notes.

Motley stories that engage, provoke, and entertain.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-578-59169-8

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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THE WOMEN

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

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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

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IT STARTS WITH US

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

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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

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