by Gary Moreau ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 9, 2016
A thought-provoking and intriguing, though unevenly written, novel of the expatriate life and one man’s discovery of what...
An American expatriate reevaluates his life in China.
In this contemporary novel, Moreau (Understanding China, 2015) draws on his own experience living and working in China as he tells the story of Adam Bertrand, an American executive in charge of a Chinese manufacturing operation. Adam’s management style is effective, but serves as a source of conflict with his boss, a by-the-books CEO unfamiliar with the culture, from the opening pages. Adam is also on his third marriage, this time to Li Qing, his former masseuse, also known as Lisa. When it becomes clear that Adam’s career in China has reached its end, he looks back at his life while figuring out the next steps, made more difficult by laws limiting the immigration of Chinese wives like Li Qing. Adam confronts his strengths and shortcomings, establishes a comfortable relationship with the children of his previous marriage, and plots a path forward that meets his physical and emotional needs. Moreau’s familiarity with the expatriate experience in China is evident throughout the book, with a vividly drawn setting, though the blanket statements about Chinese culture delivered in an authoritative voice (“As receiver-oriented communicators, the Chinese can be poor conversationalists if the feel no sense of personal obligation to the speaker” ) may raise eyebrows. The narrative is somewhat uneven, filled with professorial asides (“Humans think through a process called precognitive conclusion. Even in the current moment when all data is theoretically available, our brains process only a small fraction of the data presented to it for analysis” ) and organized into a timeline that leaves the reader wondering at some points whether action is taking place in Adam’s past or present. Adam is a flawed but ultimately likable protagonist whose emotional and intellectual growth over the course of the book serve as his redemption, and Moreau presents a unique vantage point for understanding the role Americans play in a multicultural world.A thought-provoking and intriguing, though unevenly written, novel of the expatriate life and one man’s discovery of what matters most to him.
Pub Date: May 9, 2016
Page Count: 222
Review Posted Online: June 15, 2016
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
National Book Award Finalist
Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.
Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Pub Date: March 10, 2015
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by Kristin Hannah ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2006
Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.
Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.
Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.
Pub Date: March 1, 2006
Page Count: 400
Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005
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