A wonderfully clever compilation.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2013

11 Stories

The superintendent of an 11-story apartment building in Chicago falls from the roof, remembering stories of the tenants on his way down.

As a teenage trumpet prodigy, Roscoe lost a finger in the gate of his apartment building’s elevator. His trumpet dream shattered, he became superintendent of that same building, where he’s lived all his life. Now living in a Spartan basement apartment, he sees to the needs of the building’s tenants. But Roscoe never gave up on the trumpet, and on a fateful autumn evening, he ascends to the roof of the building to play his trumpet for all the world to hear. The people down on the sidewalk are entranced. Roscoe finishes and modestly bows—but loses his balance and begins his fatal plunge. Then the frame story launches: Time slows as Roscoe descends 11 floors, remembering a story about someone who lived on each floor he passes. Sylvia Freeman, a hoarder, lived on 10. On seven lived exiled Joaquin Rojas, whose Cuban friend sent him books stolen from Castro’s library. David and Bill, the gay couple who lived on the sixth floor, split up over a stupid misunderstanding. Mrs. Delpy lived on five, where her psychotic son Martin crawled out on the ledge, followed by Roscoe. Finally, on the second floor lived Roscoe’s only lifelong love, Iris Montgomery, with their illicit love consummated just once. Cander’s book isn’t quite Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio (1919), though. Some stories, like the perennially clogged toilet on eight, are playful anecdotes. Yet many of the tenants show heartbreaking spiritual damage; some of them are admirable, some not so much. Quiet, diffident Roscoe, who’s spent half a century supporting them all in one way or another, just as admirably supports these stories.

A wonderfully clever compilation.

Pub Date: April 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0988946507

Page Count: 234

Publisher: Rubber Tree Press

Review Posted Online: July 1, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

Did you like this book?

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet