An extraordinary career milestone: spare, evocative, and moving.

EVERYTHING INSIDE

In her first collection of short stories in more than a decade, Danticat tackles the complexities of diaspora with lyrical grace.

Danticat (The Art of Death, 2017, etc.) is a master of economy; she has always possessed the remarkable ability to build singular fictional worlds in a matter of sentences. This collection draws on Danticat's exceptional strengths as a storyteller to examine how migration to and from the Caribbean shapes her characters, whether they're scrounging up savings to pay ransom for a kidnapping, navigating youthful idealism and the pull of international aid work, or trying to erase the horrors of immigrating to the United States by sea. In "Dosas," Elsie, a home health care worker in Miami Shores, is shocked by a panicked phone call from her ex-husband about his new girlfriend's kidnapping in Port-au-Prince. What becomes increasingly clear, however, is that Elsie's ex-husband is a two-timing scammer who has derailed Elsie's life in more ways than one. With great care, Danticat demonstrates the razor's edge on which Elsie's own financial and emotional security is balanced: from the sacrifices she makes to send Blaise money to her fears about the safety of her own family. "Maybe there was something about her that wasn't enough," Elsie thinks, as she reconsiders her marriage. "Or something about him that wasn't enough....Some people just want to go home, no matter what the cost." When two former lovers meet for dinner on the Fourth of July in "The Gift," they struggle to reconnect across a yawning chasm of loss caused by the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti in 2010. And, in "Without Inspection," an undocumented construction worker hurtles to his death from rickety scaffolding, imagining final visitations with his lover and adopted son. These are stories of lives upended by tragedies big and small, from political coups to closely guarded maternal secrets. Throughout each story, Danticat attends to the ways families are made and unmade: Mothers yearn for children, women recover from divorce, and aging parents suffer from dementia or succumb to death. No one is immune from pain, but Danticat asks her readers to witness the integrity of her subjects as they excavate beauty and hope from uncertainty and loss.

An extraordinary career milestone: spare, evocative, and moving.

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-52127-3

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS

Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.

Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.

With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-2801-1

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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