A GLASSFUL OF LETTERS

Friendship, fear, and exile inform this latest from Irish novelist and storywriter Conlon (Taking Scarlet as a Real Colour, not reviewed), a brilliant epistolary work suffusing a portrait of modern Dublin with the subtle wit of Clarissa. Helena, like most stewardesses, is good at observing things from a distance.”This story is not about me,” she admits at the start. “It’s about my neighbour, Connie, and other neighbours, and what happened to her and us one year. She was brave.” Connie, you see, is married to Desmond, a Dublin art teacher. She has several children whom she loves, but she’s neither particularly happy with her lot nor desperate enough to change it. One great sorrow is her loss of her friend Fergal, who’s moved to New York to find work as an architect. Fergal corresponds with Connie and Helena both, although Helena (accustomed to long periods on the road with Aer Lingus) is a much better gossipmeister, filling Fergal in on the Dublin scene. From Helena, for example, Fergal learns that Desmond’s rather aloof father Bernard, a bibliophile and manager of the Waterford Glass factory, has begun corresponding with prisoners as a kind of charitable hobby. Connie, bored to death and inspired by her father-in-law’s example, follows suit and begins to exchange letters with Senan, an IRA convict. Fergal learns, to his horror, that Connie has become infatuated with Senan and that Senan has actually been released from the slammer. What will become of Connie’s marriage? Or her friendship with IRA opponent Fergal? For that matter, what will become of Ireland? And how can Helena and her husband Kevin be so blasÇ about everything? To Fergal, it seems that his countrymen have gone daft, though in fact a larger process is at work in the society he left behind. A splendid reworking of the standard circle-of-friends saga, and a timely and fascinating glimpse of 1990s Ireland.

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 1998

ISBN: 0-85640-618-X

Page Count: 208

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE STARLESS SEA

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more