With paragraphs that read like poems, this is a memorably crafted entry into the canon of revenge narratives.



A young woman hyperviscerally experiences the aftermath of her rape.

On the first page of Glass’ slim debut novel, we meet Peach, a college student stumbling home in the dark after an apparent sexual assault. In truncated, lyrical language, Glass describes Peach scraping her knuckles along a wall, stopping to be sick, leaking blood from between her legs. In the hours and days that follow, the people in her life are largely oblivious to her clear distress—her sex-obsessed parents, her infant baby brother, her doting boyfriend, Green. As she deals with the aftermath of her assault, her perspective is badly warped: she believes her body, especially her belly, is distended and growing. She sees the people around her as food: her brother is a jelly baby (a British variation of a gummy bear), and she thinks of her science professor as Mr Custard, whose “limbs form from liquid.…Blobs. Brilliant yellow. Bold, now. Bubbling.” And she keeps catching glimpses—or are they hallucinations?––of Lincoln, her attacker, whom she sees as a sausage, greasy and fat, leering at her through windows or swinging from a streetlamp. As these visions turn into more direct threats, Peach realizes she has to take matters into her own hands before her attacker destroys everything she loves. Glass’ stylized writing owes a clear debt to James Joyce’s experimental prose, something she acknowledges in a note at the end of the book. Although that's a difficult effect to sustain across even a volume as slender as this one, Glass’ prose is capable of breathtaking deftness. And the writing is much more than a gimmick: the clipped sentences and obsessive repetitions provide a terrifying window into a freshly traumatized psyche.

With paragraphs that read like poems, this is a memorably crafted entry into the canon of revenge narratives.

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63557-130-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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A young Irish couple gets together, splits up, gets together, splits up—sorry, can't tell you how it ends!

Irish writer Rooney has made a trans-Atlantic splash since publishing her first novel, Conversations With Friends, in 2017. Her second has already won the Costa Novel Award, among other honors, since it was published in Ireland and Britain last year. In outline it's a simple story, but Rooney tells it with bravura intelligence, wit, and delicacy. Connell Waldron and Marianne Sheridan are classmates in the small Irish town of Carricklea, where his mother works for her family as a cleaner. It's 2011, after the financial crisis, which hovers around the edges of the book like a ghost. Connell is popular in school, good at soccer, and nice; Marianne is strange and friendless. They're the smartest kids in their class, and they forge an intimacy when Connell picks his mother up from Marianne's house. Soon they're having sex, but Connell doesn't want anyone to know and Marianne doesn't mind; either she really doesn't care, or it's all she thinks she deserves. Or both. Though one time when she's forced into a social situation with some of their classmates, she briefly fantasizes about what would happen if she revealed their connection: "How much terrifying and bewildering status would accrue to her in this one moment, how destabilising it would be, how destructive." When they both move to Dublin for Trinity College, their positions are swapped: Marianne now seems electric and in-demand while Connell feels adrift in this unfamiliar environment. Rooney's genius lies in her ability to track her characters' subtle shifts in power, both within themselves and in relation to each other, and the ways they do and don't know each other; they both feel most like themselves when they're together, but they still have disastrous failures of communication. "Sorry about last night," Marianne says to Connell in February 2012. Then Rooney elaborates: "She tries to pronounce this in a way that communicates several things: apology, painful embarrassment, some additional pained embarrassment that serves to ironise and dilute the painful kind, a sense that she knows she will be forgiven or is already, a desire not to 'make a big deal.' " Then: "Forget about it, he says." Rooney precisely articulates everything that's going on below the surface; there's humor and insight here as well as the pleasure of getting to know two prickly, complicated people as they try to figure out who they are and who they want to become.

Absolutely enthralling. Read it.

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984-82217-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Hogarth/Crown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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