Serious fun and a rare, rich feast for many: Schickler’s unabashed use of allegory and his skillful weaving of the dark and...



Enchanting debut novel by Schickler (Kissing in Manhattan, stories: 2001), who stitches together a kind of crazy-quilt picaresque that seems to be inspired in equal measure by Pulp Fiction and Parsifal.

There’s an unhappy hood named Henry Dante who works for the creepy Chicago mobster Honey Pobrinkis. Honey (who isn’t above freezing people to death in restaurant coolers) has just managed to buy a seven-stone diamond collection known as the Planets through a middleman who subsequently pockets the stones and plans to flee the country with them. Along with Honey’s other two strong-arm guys—his sinister nephew Roger and screwbally, comic-foil Floyd—Dante is sent to bring them back. But when Roger tries to turn the pickup into a hit, Dante spares the mark, punches out both of his partners, and takes the Planets himself. What do you do when you’ve beat up Honey’s nephew and stolen $40 million worth of ice? You hit the road, of course, and don’t ask where. That will eventually bring you face-to-face with Grace McGlone in Janesville, Wisconsin. The daughter of a devout God-fearing mother and a worthless, unknown father, Grace is a kind of Manichean schizophrenic, a bit like Lara from Dr. Zhivago, who manages to fall in love with Christ despite being raped by her mother’s revivalist preacher: a Christian gospel radio show evangelist by the name of Bertram Block. When Grace and Dante meet at the car wash in Janesville, it’s love at first sight—albeit a very strange love indeed. The deep-down honorable Dante confesses his mob past to Grace, upon which she proceeds to marry him and help him get away. As they flee across the country to outrun Honey’s inevitable retribution, they give away the Planets one by one, until, after a climactic showdown at another God’s Will revival, there’s nothing left but Earth. But, in the end, Earth is enough.

Serious fun and a rare, rich feast for many: Schickler’s unabashed use of allegory and his skillful weaving of the dark and comical make him one of the best new voices in years.

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2004

ISBN: 0-385-33568-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2004

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


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

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

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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

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