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AT NIGHT ONLY

A depressingly beautiful portrait of the metropolitan human.

An unnamed narrator experiences the violent tides of a contemporary drug-infused life in New York City.

Living in Williamsburg with a shiba inu named Max, an unnamed and genderless narrator struggles with a series of addictions: romance, drugs, and career. “Me, immortal teenager: always awkward and anxious, forever lonely, constantly desirous of Yes’s from No’s as if I were the deserving exception.” Steeped in both the art world and the advertising industry, the narrator experiences life through a cloud of medicine (“pop two lithium, one Zoloft, and two Klonopin”) and consequently functions as would a ghost haunting his own stomping grounds. The narrator spends time with Pedro, a supremely controversial performance artist who throws themed art parties with names like “Fuck My Mother,” encouraging decadent, uninhibited sexual behavior. The narrator does whatever Pedro requests, including drug cocktails and weeklong benders. The two engage romantically only to realize that their compatibility is just as ephemeral as their high. In the second part, the narrator seems to put a damper on the party scene, this time dating Jacques, an emerging actor who has violent tantrums that only rough sex and emotional outcries can calm. As the narrator attempts to go off meds, their relationship becomes exceptionally codependent, though Jacques is much better at staying away. The comedown affects every aspect of the narrator’s life and induces a series of highly disruptive and murderous episodes. Stoddard (Limiters, 2014, etc.) has created an addictive and intoxicating environment for his readers. The lack of pronouns and overwhelming use of action verbs give the text a depersonalized effervescence that penetrates the reader’s mind with almost no difficulty. As a result, the narrator could be anyone who happens to read this story, but most importantly, the narrator embodies a version of New York that we seldom talk about.

A depressingly beautiful portrait of the metropolitan human.

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9976432-1-3

Page Count: 188

Publisher: Itna Press

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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