A powerfully written exploration of the rites of power.

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Wifey

Ugokwe’s debut novella adds a mystical touch to the story of a destructive, dysfunctional marriage.

Pallavi Victoria, known to her friends and family as P.V., came to Los Angeles to find freedom from her rich, conservative Trinidadian family in Miami. Instead, she fell in love with a handsome player named Rodney and, at the age of 22, got married. To Rodney’s “twelve grinning and good-times-ready groomsmen,” P.V.’s a figure of fun, referred to as Boozhe P, short for bourgeoisie princess. To her face, Rodney calls her Wifey—when he’s not demeaning her with other epithets. Despite bruises and scars and her mother’s warning—“dat young man can’t love you!”— P.V. tries to make the best of their new, downsized life in Texas, a move imposed upon her by Rodney. As he falls into drink and drugs, she makes friends with Juanita and Georgina, who, with their caring husbands and numerous children, demonstrate a better way of life. With their encouragement, P.V. pursues her love of cooking by throwing regular dinner parties while her husband is out carousing with his friends. When Rodney returns one night and finds P.V. a little too close to a handsome guest, their frayed relationship enters into a final showdown. Ugokwe’s existential tale of a woman reduced to a “thingified concept” in a marriage mired in machismo begins promisingly, and its themes of materialism running amok, misogyny and racial tensions are timely. The writing is bold and unconventional. Characters are well-defined through dialect and dialogue as the narrator switches from Rodney’s California vernacular to the pidgin English P.V.’s mother speaks over the phone to the g-dropping drawl of the Dallas suburbs. Despite this, P.V. never seems to come to life. She wants freedom but never strives for it. As conflict rages around her, she reacts passively, as when confronted in dreams by her deceased “Nani,” whose “antiquated deference and quiet defiance” she never quite shakes.

A powerfully written exploration of the rites of power.

Pub Date: March 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615764900

Page Count: 154

Publisher: Pink Purse International

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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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

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

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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

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