A sentimental, staccato love letter to baseball, fatherhood, and the passage of time.

BUCKY F*CKING DENT

A frustrated young writer discovers a surprising redemption when he moves back in with his dying father.

Duchovny (Holy Cow, 2015) follows up his whimsical debut with a far more substantive coming-of-age novel that started life over a decade ago as an unproduced screenplay centered on the infamous 1978 American League East tiebreaker between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Our introduction to this well-captured corner of Americana comes from Ted Fullilove, an Ivy League graduate who largely wastes his potential by smoking pot, tossing peanuts at Yankee Stadium, and puttering around with the Great American Novel. When Ted learns that his long-estranged father, Marty, is dying, he moves back in with the cantankerous old man. Marty is a throwback to another age, a former adman with a secretive past revealed when he asks his son to read the journals he wrote as a younger man. As Ted spends more time with his father, he develops a grudging respect for the profane Marty, whose belligerence belies a whip-smart mind and a deep love for the son he calls “Splinter.” Ted even gets surprised by his own romanticism when he falls for Mariana, a caretaker who warns Ted, “Death is not a story; it can’t be faked out. Death is real. You can’t really keep your father safe.” There’s a comic angle here, too. Marty’s health plummets whenever the Red Sox lose, so Ted mounts an ambitious campaign to fake a winning season with the help of Mariana and Marty’s elderly buddies. A truly funny moment comes later when Ted introduces Marty to the merits of marijuana. Readers who enjoy the story told here would be well-served by seeking out Duchovny’s 2004 directorial debut, House of D, which shares many of the same assets. Duchovny riffs heavily on familiar themes here but still deftly portrays bittersweet nostalgia without lapsing into saccharine theatricality.

A sentimental, staccato love letter to baseball, fatherhood, and the passage of time.

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-374-11042-0

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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

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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

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