Like Tallien (1988), etc., Tuten's latest is conceptually interesting and quite the rage—a post-mod mix of high and low culture. But not all hip ideas translate into compelling fiction. Reminiscent of Jay Cantor's Krazy Kat, Tuten's ponderous fable reimagines the famous Belgian cartoon character, Tintin, in a grown-up world peopled with refugees from The Magic Mountain. Tuten thus fills in his comic-strip word balloons with dialogue from an old-fashioned novel of ideas. Once an ``incorruptible, a natural spirit, a blond elf,'' the stunted boy-man discovers himself in the greatest adventure of his life. In Peru, on Machu Picchu, Tintin, his faithful terrier, Snowy, and his sidekick, the salty sea- captain Haddock, encounter Clavdia Chauchat, Peeperkorn, and others from Mann's classic. In the New World, they must all reconceive their purposes in life. These rather inanimate talking heads debate the merits of revolution, the value of art, and the designs of power. Meanwhile, Tintin falls madly for Clavdia after a night of wild passion, a moment so fraught with meaning that it leads to an elaborate dream of their future together. But Tintin's vision of contentment at his retreat, Marlinspike, is dashed by the decadent Peeperkorn, who reveals Clavdia's history of madness and nymphomania. Tintin grows, his voice deepens, he broods. He pushes Peeperkorn off the mountain edge and embarks on his last great adventure. High on psychedelic mushrooms, he flashes on ``the Grand Spectacle of the New World'' and sees himself as the fulfillment of ancient prophecy. A beggar in Lima, a shaman in Brazil, Tintin finally submerges himself in the Amazon, at one with the primal forces. HergÇ meets Mann, and the result would be as delightfully silly as an Abbott and Costello movie if Tuten didn't take all this so seriously. But, alas, he does, and the reader must suffer through his arch prose, with its pretentiously elevated diction.

Pub Date: June 21, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-12314-7

Page Count: 236

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1993

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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