With his detached, eminently humane, honest, and bitingly funny narration, Fred makes an unerringly entertaining...

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Vibrant, amusing tale from film director/author Dörrie (What Do You Want From Me?, 1991, etc.) limns a richly entertaining midlife crisis, which takes a faithless husband to a Buddhist retreat in France.

Fred is not in search of enlightenment, however, and seems an unlikely candidate for Eastern religion. He has been assigned by his wife, Claudia, to ensure that their teenaged daughter, Franka, does not run off to India with her lover, a scholar of Buddhism named Pelge. Fred leaves Munich, his lover, and his chain of eateries behind to travel with Franka to meet Pelge. His daughter immediately blends into the community and disappears, while Fred is assigned a “family” with whom he will spend the next few TV-, caffeine-, and smoke-free days. They are, as might be expected, torturous for self-indulgent Fred, but the peace gives him time to reflect on his marriage. The spark went out of it some indistinct time ago; now Claudia is a devoted Buddhist, performing nightly prostrations for world peace instead of cuddling with Fred. At the retreat, he meets lovely Antje, who confides that she’s here because her husband, Theo, has fallen in love with a student of Buddhism, and she wants to discover the religion’s appeal. It turns out that Theo, a member of Fred’s retreat “family,” is the man who inspired Claudia to try Buddhism, and indeed the two have become lovers. In some delightful sketches, Fred good-naturedly but sarcastically observes the retreat’s rituals. Then he witnesses Theo’s sudden death and realizes this sojourn has changed him. Fred wishes Franka luck in India, drives grieving Antje home to Amsterdam, declines to donate sperm to a pair of hospitable lesbians, and en route to Munich saves the life of a motorist on the autobahn

With his detached, eminently humane, honest, and bitingly funny narration, Fred makes an unerringly entertaining companion—and he even finds wisdom in Buddhist teachings, despite his best efforts to remain crass and ironic.

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 1-58234-151-6

Page Count: 280

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2001

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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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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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