At once a mind-bending puzzle and a profound meditation on love, fate, ambition, and regret.

YOU AGAIN

A middle-aged marketing executive questions whether she’s seeing doppelgängers or suffering delusions.

Abigail Willard, 46, is heading home to Brooklyn after a long day at her job as art director at a pharmaceutical company when she spies her 22-year-old double at a pay phone near the Holland Tunnel. She leaps out of her taxi to get a better look only for the girl to hail the cab and disappear. Abby doesn’t mention the incident to her husband, Dennis, or her sons, Pete and Benjamin; it was dark and rainy and she was probably just tired. Then, several days later, she happens upon her younger self reading on a bench outside a library she used to frequent—and the encounters only escalate from there. Is Abby hallucinating? Is the figure a friendly ghost of sorts, meant to remind the former painter of the dreams she abandoned? Or is this a chance for Abby to prevent whatever tragedy caused her to forget a year of her 20s? Meanwhile, Dennis fears he’ll be fired, and 16-year-old Pete becomes involved with an increasingly violent group of antifa activists, earning him—and Abigail—the attention of a handsome police detective. Although an unidentified individual’s quest to solve “the many mysteries about Ms. Willard’s role in the deadly events of 2015” forms the book’s frame, Immergut allows the bulk of the tale to unfold via Abby’s journal. Her entries are evocatively written, keenly self-aware, and peppered with artful observations that lend the story texture, vibrancy, and depth.

At once a mind-bending puzzle and a profound meditation on love, fate, ambition, and regret.

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-274758-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

An alternately farcical and poignant look at family bonds.

THE SUMMER PLACE

When a family convenes at their Cape Cod summer home for a wedding, old secrets threaten to ruin everything.

Sarah Danhauser is shocked when her beloved stepdaughter announces her engagement to her boyfriend, Gabe. After all, Ruby’s only 22, and Sarah suspects that their relationship was fast-tracked because of the time they spent together in quarantine during the early days of the pandemic. Sarah’s mother, Veronica, is thrilled, mostly because she longs to have the entire family together for one last celebration before she puts their Cape Cod summer house on the market. But getting to Ruby and Gabe’s wedding might prove more difficult than anyone thought. Sarah can’t figure out why her husband, Eli, has been so distant and distracted ever since Ruby moved home to Park Slope (bringing Gabe with her), and she's afraid he may be having an affair. Veronica is afraid that a long-ago dalliance might come back to bite her. Ruby isn’t sure how to process the conflicting feelings she’s having about her upcoming nuptials. And Sam, Sarah’s twin brother, is a recent widower who’s dealing with some pretty big romantic confusion. As the entire extended family, along with Gabe’s relatives, converges on the summer house, secrets become impossible to keep, and it quickly becomes clear that this might not be the perfect gathering Veronica was envisioning. If they make it to the wedding, will their family survive the aftermath? Weiner creates a story with all the misunderstandings and miscommunications of a screwball comedy or a Shakespeare play (think A Midsummer Night’s Dream). But the surprising, over-the-top actions of the characters are grounded by a realistic and moving look at grief and ambition (particularly for Sarah and Veronica, both of whom give up demanding creative careers early on). At times the flashbacks can slow down the story, but even when the characters are lying, cheating, and hiding from each other, they still seem like a real and loving family.

An alternately farcical and poignant look at family bonds.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3357-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

A curious fetishization of outsiders, outlaws, and the down-and-out.

THE RAVAGED

This debut novel from Walking Dead actor Reedus follows three thematically connected yet narratively unrelated people as they journey to find themselves.

Hunter, a heavily tatted Iraq War vet and self-proclaimed gearhead, attacks his boss at the bike shop after catching him kicking a dog. “Hunter was old school,” the narrator says, rough-hewn but with strong moral fiber and a heart of gold. After learning his father died in a “mysterious house fire” in California, Hunter hops on his Buell S1 motorcycle alongside his buddies Nugget and Itch for a cross-country haul to execute the will. Meanwhile, a wealthy 65-year-old executive named Jack is mugged while traveling aimlessly through South America, neither the first nor the last of his hardships. Jack abandoned his cushy, bloodless office lifestyle after his dying mother told him to “run and never look back,” words he continuously labors to unpack. Finally, Anne, an abused teenage girl in Tennessee, steals her father’s savings and .38 revolver and runs away from home, clobbering her brother upside the head with a cast-iron skillet when he tries to stop her. She connects with her friend Trot, and they join a community of train-hoppers. Co-written by Bill, the story reads like a pastiche of Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, the latter of which is name-dropped as “great” by multiple characters. Though occasionally hitting some beautiful imagery of the American heartland, Reedus falls victim to implausible dialogue—“Fabiola, you are reading me like a stock report,” Jack says—and overcooked language: “flesh the color of a high-dollar medium-roast coffee bean.” Frequently wordy summaries do little to develop the thinly sketched characters; we know nearly as much about them on Page 25 as on Page 250.

A curious fetishization of outsiders, outlaws, and the down-and-out.

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-09-416680-3

Page Count: 292

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

more