What might be—and occasionally is—touching is undercut by McAdam's indulgences in a clankingly poetic style.

READ REVIEW

A BEAUTIFUL TRUTH

Canadian novelist McAdam's third book (Fall, 2009, etc.) begins with Walt and Judy, a loving, childless Vermont couple beset by the feeling that they don't have sufficient outlets for the love they have to give.

One day in 1972, Walt comes across an article in Life about chimpanzees conversant in sign language, and soon he's gone off to a traveling circus in search of a cross-species surrogate son. Alongside the story of Walt and Judy and Looee, the baby chimp they acquire and adopt—from the beginning there is a presentiment of tragedy—McAdam places a parallel narrative set at a primate research institute in Florida, where, for decades, the intricate cultures of chimpanzees have been documented and their formidable linguistic and problem-solving abilities have been developed and celebrated. Here, too, the crux of the story has to do with loneliness and empathy; people (and nonpeople) are to be marveled at for their ability and willingness to offer fellow creatures the balms of love, compassion and friendship, and McAdam doesn't flinch from the workings of cruelty and brutality, either. There's daring, and some pleasure, in the switches of point of view and especially in McAdam's effort to come up with a subtle, sensitive way to inhabit the chimpanzees and approximate their version of English idiom. Alas, the book founders on McAdam's human idiom, which tends all too often toward abstraction and glib faux profundity: "Walt was in love, and held close the fact that there is nothing more natural or right than buying the world for the woman of your dreams. Try to name the value of that smile to Walt and his life-worn heart."

What might be—and occasionally is—touching is undercut by McAdam's indulgences in a clankingly poetic style.

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61695-315-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more