A quiet yet powerful verse exploration of everyday wonders, the construction of meaning from experience and the power of...



A captivating collection of free verse investigating the marvels of the mundane.

With her title’s subtle, yet unmistakable, allusion to Yeats’ “foul rag and bone shop of the heart,” Stevens (Sirens’ Songs, 2010, etc.) boldly announces her intention. Like Yeats, Stevens casts a long look back over her poetic career and life and rediscovers that it is not the whole cloth, purchased by the virgin bolt, but rather the fragments, the discards, the well-worn hand-me-downs, out of which sumptuous new creations can be sewn. In “The Rag Lover,” she gathers together the remnants of long-loved clothing, weaving together “a capacious (and magical) mantle of motley” that announces her as the “artist of alteration,” “the impresario of invisible reweaving” and “the rag lover, prestidigitator, poet.” More often than showy display, though, Stevens focuses on the invisible stitching of life’s smallest moments, especially the rich internal life that fills the gaps—and makes all the meaning—between the observable, external moments. The narrator of “Waiting,” for instance, suffers innumerable “accidents and disasters” of the imagination while waiting for her family’s return for dinner, only to have them arrive at last, oblivious, “as if nothing could ever happen / to any one of us.” Stevens’ narrators grapple with the tension between starting anew and holding onto the past, and with abiding loneliness, but they also revel in the magic underlying the quotidian and look forward to embracing old age with grace and dignity. In the long final poem, “Messes,” Stevens pays tribute to Walt Whitman, cataloging the many chores and challenges of motherhood and mapping the terrain of domesticity in a multisensory journey that blurs past and present and ultimately demonstrates how identity is found in struggle and engagement. In a delightfully pure Whitman-esque moment of unashamed, fully embodied revelation, she sings: “Dust is the color of what you find between your toes, / in your navel, in your privates, under your nails. / You breathe it in, but / not all of it comes out your nose / when you pick or blow.” Mote by mote, she asserts, we and the world become one.

A quiet yet powerful verse exploration of everyday wonders, the construction of meaning from experience and the power of immanence.

Pub Date: June 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1936343027

Page Count: 52

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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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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