Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 1768)

THE PROMISE OF LIGHT by Paul Watkins
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"From start to finish, this is fine work."
Watkins has outdone himself: this gifted young writer (In the Blue Light of African Dreams, etc.) has written his best yet—a successful fusion of a young man's quest for his origins with a harrowing account of the Troubles in Ireland (prior to independence in 1922). Read full book review >
BLUE BEL AIR by Brett Laidlaw
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Occasionally lively, but more often terminally introspective: a sequel that milks its situation dry, and unfortunately the rustlings in the husk suggest that the last has not been heard from the baffled Bryce Fraser."
Young love, an old car, and the secret desire that can never be articulated—at least not in the American Midwest—are the highlights of this precious, ponderous summer romance featuring a marginal mÇnage Ö trois, the lesser sequel to Laidlaw's debut, Three Nights in the Heart of the Earth (1988). Read full book review >

KITCHEN by Banana Yoshimoto
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Timeless emotions, elegantly evoked with impressive originality and strength."
Young writer Yoshimoto's first full-length fiction to appear in the US—an excerpt of which appeared in New Japanese Voices (1991; ed. by Helen Mitsios)—explores love and loss with a distinctly contemporary sensibility. Read full book review >
THREE LIVES by Louis Auchincloss
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Neither nostalgist nor class traitor, he remains above all an artist."
The three fictional memoirs that make up Auchincloss's (False Gods, etc. etc.) latest all illustrate classic personality types. Read full book review >
THE PLYMOUTH CLOAK by Kate Sedley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Less atmospheric than Death and the Chapman, and it takes much padding to stretch the skimpy plot to booklength."
A limp second outing for medieval peddlar Roger the Chapman finds him, in 1473, taking on another assignment for the Duke of Gloucester—this time, to keep the Duke's agent, Philip Underdown, safe until he can board The Falcon at Plymouth, two days hence, and sail for France with an important message for the Breton court. Read full book review >

TRIAL BY WATER by George Cuomo
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Readers hungry for a strong plot with credible characters and settings should fall upon Cuomo's novel and devour it."
Ten years after his last novel (Family Honor, 1983), Cuomo makes a welcome return with this meaty small-town suspense story that adroitly encompasses family solidarity, class tensions, and teenage culture. Read full book review >
THE LIVING ONE by Lewis Gannett
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Wild, imaginative, and vastly overwritten, his novel enthralls yet infuriates—and leaves one yearning for his next."
An 800-pound gorilla of a horror novel: the powerful, unpredictable, and dreadfully self-indulgent tale of a centuries- old entity. Read full book review >
THE CZAR'S MADMAN by Jaan Kross
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Instead, it seems inert and repetitively one-noted."
In a first appearance in English, Kross—an Estonian writer who paid his dues all too familiarly in Stalin's Gulag—here writes a long, leisurely, upholstered old-fashioned historical novel concerning a 19th-century Baltic nobleman, Timo von Bock, who was arrested and imprisoned for nine years (as Kross had been) after writing an utterly indiscreet cry for social justice to his close friend the Czar, Alexander I. Unconventional von Bock already had married beneath him—a peasant girl, Kitty—taking her and her young brother, Jakob (who narrates here from within the confines of a journal), back to the manor house with him. Read full book review >
BRIDES OF BLOOD by Joseph Koenig
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"An absorbing mystery, incandescent action, and an Iran locked in nightmare: Salman Rushdie would love this novel."
A Gorky Park-style thriller that's truly frightening—because it's set in today's Iran, which in Koenig's expert hands (Smuggler's Notch, 1988, etc.) unfolds as a modern-day Bedlam run by Muslim fanatics. Read full book review >
THE VENETIAN MASK by Rosalind Laker
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"But her characters are spunky and her plot satisfies, even if it doesn't describe the character behind La Serenissima's mask in anything other than the most simplistic terms."
More old-fashioned historical romance from Laker (The Golden Tulip, etc. etc.), this time set in Venice just before Napoleon forces the declining republic to its knees. Read full book review >
RULER OF THE SKY by Pamela Sargent
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"The internecine rivalries defy comprehension, the battles are dull, and the sex scenes fall limp throughout 700 pages of repetitious, plodding prose."
Sargent (science fiction: Shore of Women; Venus of Shadows; espionage: Black Valentine) now turns her hand to the epic of Genghis Khan—as experienced by some of the innumerable women in the Khan's life. Read full book review >
FRAUD by Anita Brookner
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 1, 1993

"Brookner at her best."
Again, Brookner (A Closed Eye, Brief Lives, etc.) acutely limns the lives of women shaped as much by temperament as by circumstance, but this time she liberates her heroine—both from herself and her situation—in an uncharacteristically upbeat ending. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Bill Browder
author of RED NOTICE
March 24, 2015

Bill Browder’s Red Notice is a nonfiction political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption. In 2007, a group of Russian law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear. “It may be that ‘Russian stories never have happy endings,’ ” our reviewer writes about Red Notice, “but Browder’s account more than compensates by ferociously unmasking Putin’s thugocracy.” View video >