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THE LAST INTERVIEW

A daring, triumphant work of searing beauty.

An Israeli writer gives an in-depth interview that unravels the story of his life and art.

Most interviews purport to expose some previously unknown truth, however trivial, about the interview subject. Nevo’s new novel asks the question: What would it mean for the interviewee to actually tell that “truth”—and how might the idea of truth telling be complicated if the interviewee were in the business of fiction writing? In trenchant, lovely prose—beautifully translated by Silverston—Nevo uses the unconventional structure of a literary interview to reveal the cracks in the facade of a writer’s relationship to himself, his work, and the world. Nevo excels at revealing—and reveling in—the exquisite within the mundane. As the interviewer moves from question to question, the protagonist leads the reader through various vignettes of his life; though the questions themselves range from basic to profound, each answer pulls the reader further into the protagonist’s vibrant inner world. The juxtaposition of the artificial medium of the interview with the increasing vulnerability that the writer displays in his answers is quietly radical. The emotional stakes are further heightened, and the narrative propelled, by the sometimes-jarring nature of this sort of structure: Often, the interviewer interrupts the narrative with a new question just at the point when a section is at its most moving or engrossing. The result is a compelling page-turner of quiet beauty and power. Drawing upon a rich Jewish literary heritage that stretches from Bialik to Oz to Roth, Nevo pushes the boundaries of fiction both formally and thematically, challenging the reader at every turn to reconsider their conceptions of the relationship between truth and fiction.

A daring, triumphant work of searing beauty.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-163542-987-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Other Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

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A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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THE FIVE-STAR WEEKEND

The people in her books may screw up, but Hilderbrand always gets it right. Kind of amazing.

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A dreamy Nantucket house party given by a meticulous hostess goes off the rails.

“When Hollis posts a potato and white cheddar tart with a crispy bacon crust, her foodie community breaks the one-million-member milestone. (Leave it to bacon!)” And leave it to Hilderbrand, in her 30th book of Nantucket-based fiction, to cook up more literary bacon, this time focusing on female friendship, female “friendship,” and the power of the internet and social media. When Hollis Shaw's doctor husband dies in a crash on the way to the airport, she steps back from Hungry With Hollis, her popular website. After moping around her house in “Swellesley” for a while, she returns to Nantucket for the summer, planning a kick-out-the-stops weekend party that will involve one girlfriend from each phase of her life—youth, college, motherhood—plus her favorite internet follower, an Atlanta-based airline pilot, whom she's never actually met. Two of these old pals are definitely not as close to Hollis as they once were, one of them has done her secret harm, and Hollis dramatically increases the potential for trouble by paying her angry 20-something daughter to document the weekend on film. Add two bottles each of Casa Dragones tequila, Triple 8 vodka, and Veuve Clicquot, plus some Hendricks gin and Mount Gay rum—what could possibly go wrong? Known for gently inserting social commentary into her plots, Hilderbrand here highlights the ridiculous fickleness of cancel culture when one of the characters—Dru-Ann, an extremely successful Black sports agent—almost loses her clients, her job, and her boyfriend when a video clip of a private conversation in a restaurant is posted on social media. Everyone says there's no way forward without a self-effacing apology. Dru-Ann says pass the Casa Dragones. Meanwhile, Hollis is about to learn that friendships forged on the internet are not always what they seem. Hilderbrand has announced plans to retire in 2024. Wait—that's next year! No!

The people in her books may screw up, but Hilderbrand always gets it right. Kind of amazing.

Pub Date: June 13, 2023

ISBN: 9780316258777

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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