An original and comic take on alternative history SF.

THE NECKLACE OF TIME

From the Snapshot series , Vol. 2

An author travels to another dimension to solve a mystery that has plagued him all his life in this sequel.

Simon Royale, a bestselling writer of horror novels, lives in a copy of the world that only contains North America—or, North America as it was on Halloween 2014. His writing is fueled, in part, by the mysterious disappearance of his sister, Cynthia, when he was 7 years old. The guilt he feels over the event is so intense that he is willing to take advantage of the opportunity to investigate a different copy of North America: one made in 1953. The two worlds have continued to develop along different paths, and US-53 (as it’s called) has its own Simon Royale—though he’s a failed, unpublished writer instead of a successful one. What’s more, the sister of US-53 Simon never disappeared. The Simon from US-2014 is going to meet his counterpart from US-53 in neutral territory: a third realm called Mega-Madagascar, which is overrun by German neo-Nazis from an alternative 1939 Europe. Confused? So is Simon US-2014. But as he attempts to solve the mystery of his sister’s disappearance and prevent his doppelgänger from stealing his identity and book sales, Simon US-2014 quickly finds himself in over his head. The SF book is even more convoluted than it sounds, but Cozort (Snapshot: Book 1 of the Snapshot Universe, 2014, etc.) unspools his Möbius strip of a plot with skillful ease. He has a lot of fun with its metafictional premise: Businesswoman Ella Smoot “still thought it was a great idea: Organize self-published writers from US-2014 for a book tour to the relatively untapped US-53 book market. No e-books there. No personal computers to speed up novel writing and create a gigantic, ever-growing glut of aspiring authors.” While not as straightforward as many popular alternative history novels, Cozort’s story explores the idea more fully and imaginatively than most. What’s more, he hinges his narrative on the small, personal problems of individuals rather than world historical events. The sequel is accessible to those who have no previous experience with the author’s Snapshot universe, and it will likely convince them to come back for more.

An original and comic take on alternative history SF.

Pub Date: July 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-07-434380-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • National Book Award Finalist

A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more