Fiction & Literature Book Reviews (page 2620)

NIGHT-SIDE by Joyce Carol Oates
Released: Oct. 7, 1977

"But most of these tales lure you in, feeding you their secrets stingily, and occasionally forcing a gasp or a sigh of real empathy for minds in disarray."
Only with the title story—the 1887 journal of a psychic researcher whose most skeptical colleague fatally embraces spiritualism—does "Night-Side" suggest the occult; elsewhere it signifies the dark side of earthly lives: the quicksandy borders of madness, the fear of death, the pressure-cooker of loneliness, secret sexualities, hostilities, fantasies. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 3, 1977

"From the waist down, then—the same old story, sans laughs; but, in head and heart—a subdued and seductive journey."
In 1972, the mature David Kepesh told us how he turned into The Breast, but here are his earlier, less symbolic guises—child of the Borscht Belt, scholar of Chekhov and Kafka, and wrestler with temptation. Read full book review >

SONG OF SOLOMON by Toni Morrison
Released: Sept. 1, 1977

"The gut-soul of Roots, with which this will be recklessly, inevitably linked, and a handsome display of a major talent."
"When you know your name, you should hang on to it, for unless it is noted down and remembered, it will die when you die." Read full book review >
THE HUGO WINNERS by Isaac Asimov
Released: Aug. 1, 1977

"The collection is a must, but not always a monument to the merits of all concerned."
Winners in the short-story, novella, and novelette categories from 1971 through 1975. Read full book review >
PLAYERS by Don DeLillo
Released: Aug. 1, 1977

"A talent reaffirmed, then, but a talent that this time doesn't quite connect."
For one over-extended, under-involved Manhattan couple—stockbroker Lyle and Pammy of the Grief Management Council—"What seemed to be missing was the desire to compile." Read full book review >

MIND OF MY MIND by Octavia E. Butler
Released: June 24, 1977

"There's a lot of intrinsic energy in the Pattern idea, and one wants to see where this erratic, gifted storyteller will pick it up next."
The first chapter in a history that Butler has already taken up at a much later stage in Patternmaster (1976). Read full book review >
A PLACE TO COME TO by Robert Penn Warren
Released: March 14, 1977

"These are, after all, unoriginal ideas which do not lend any distinctive heft to Warren's unfashionable, overt itinerary."
If you stop and think about Robert Penn Warren's most ambitious novel in years (Instead of going right on reading it), the two central characters don't really carry it: namely Jed Tewksbury with his identitylessness; or the hedonistic, sluttish Rozelle whom he loves for most of his life—who's right out of the same Alabama small town of Frank Yerby. Read full book review >
FALCONER by John Cheever
Released: March 1, 1977

"Though the fate of Farragut and Falconer may be open-ended, Cheever's novel is a strong fix—a statement of the human condition, a parable of salvation."
It is many years since we left the Steuben glasshouse world that was, so unmistakably, Cheerer country. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 9, 1977

"The quasi-scientific posturings of the modern military mind do come off smartly, but the satire is so local, tailored to such modest dimensions, that this is a book which seems forever to be clearing its throat before trying to involve us once again."
Plugged in together here are Vargas Llosa's two favorite thematic wires, prostitution and the military; the music that results is of a much lighter variety than the basso profundo of his earlier books. Read full book review >
Released: Nov. 3, 1976

When first seen at his second death, the solitary despot who has lived for a conjectural 107 to 232 years, lies in his dungheap "house of castaways," vultures pecking at his body while a cow appears on the balcony where he delivered his pronunciamentos. Read full book review >
MARRY ME by John Updike
Released: Nov. 1, 1976

"The book's a little like a cedilla to the stronger works—a small, slow curve."
Marry me, love me, leave me, marry me—forget me? Read full book review >
A PIECE OF MY HEART by Richard Ford
Released: Oct. 27, 1976

"Ford's book is not everyone's but it's potentiated by a very real talent—broody, moody stuff with some strong writing in a landscape of desolation and slow time running out."
Richard Ford's one of the new southern regional writers who's as unavoidable as the heat or the chiggers. Read full book review >
Kirkus Interview
Katey Sagal
author of GRACE NOTES
April 10, 2017

In her memoir Grace Notes, actress and singer/songwriter Katey Sagal takes you through the highs and lows of her life, from the tragic deaths of her parents to her long years in the Los Angeles rock scene, from being diagnosed with cancer at the age of twenty-eight to getting her big break on the fledgling FOX network as the wise-cracking Peggy Bundy on the beloved sitcom Married…with Children. Sparse and poetic, Grace Notes is an emotionally riveting tale of struggle and success, both professional and personal: Sagal’s path to sobriety; the stillbirth of her first daughter, Ruby; motherhood; the experience of having her third daughter at age 52 with the help of a surrogate; and her lifelong passion for music. “While this book is sure to please the author’s many fans, its thoughtful, no-regrets honesty will no doubt also appeal to readers of Hollywood memoirs seeking substance that goes beyond gossip and name-dropping,” our critic writes. “A candid, reflective memoir.” View video >