Men have been in charge too long, and at this moment the moon goddess Othiym Lunarsa slouches toward Washington, D.C., to be born—in this fourth novel and first hardcover from Hand. The main setting here is called the University of the Archangels and St. John the Divine—the secret American center of the Benandanti, a group whose origins are lost in prehistory but whose magic now rules the world. But as Yeats's gyres foretell, the goddess cult will rise, so the Benandanti have already taken arms against it. Katherine Sweeney Cassidy has no idea why she's been elected as a student for Divine, but her professor of Magic, Witchcraft & Religion, Balthazar Warnick, knows very well: Sweeney must ultimately oppose fellow student Angelica di Rienzi, the superhumanly ravishing incarnation of the Moon Goddess—though Angelica doesn't know she's the goddess until she receives the Lunula, an ultramagical necklace lost in the earth for thousands of years. Also on hand: her consort, the most beautiful man on earth, 18-year-old Oliver Wilde Crawford, a latent schizo whose fund of arcane knowledge would fit nicely into Finnegans Wake. Star-crossed Oliver, however, is chosen as Champion of the Benandanti to oppose Angelica as well. Meanwhile, Hand shows a marvelous talent for sketching in college life, especially Angelica's lesbian second banana, Annie Harmon. Things go wrong terribly early when British archaeologist Magda Kurtz, who uncovered the Lunula at her dig in northern Estavia, drapes the charm around Angelica's neck, then is hurled by Balthazar into a lurid darkness filled with giant insects. As if updating Nancy Drew, this hyperweird murder is observed by Sweeney and Angelica. But, strangely, Angelica takes it in stride, as does Oliver later. Soon a moonswept Angelica assumes her goddesshood, sacrifices a bull, has herself impregnated by Oliver, then disappears—later to bear Dylan, the son she must sacrifice to bring about the Second Coming.... Page by page, great entertainment—with special effects from Industrial Light and Magic. (Author tour)

Pub Date: July 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-06-105214-0

Page Count: 390

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.


A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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