Even as a novella, Ough has written a satisfying story that will make readers wish for more stories from this world.

THE SPACES IN BETWEEN

A NOVELLA

In debut author Ough’s fantasy adventure, a young thief with a special gift is forced into a dangerous adventure to save his mother, his lover and his homeland.

Despite growing up in the poor part of Palandine, the capital city of the kingdom of Trathlain, Gremlaw had a happy childhood. That is, until his father dies in a work accident, causing his mother to withdraw emotionally and leaving Gremlaw to fend for himself. As the youth becomes a thief, he discovers that he has a special ability. He studies crowds in the markets and trains himself to see the “patterns of people and the spaces that flowed between and around them.” Spotting the “spaces in between” allows him unnatural success in eluding capture. It’s early in his career as a subsistence thief that Gremlaw befriends an orphaned street girl named Huleta, who quickly grabs the growing boy’s attention. But no sooner has a new normalcy been established than Gremlaw is forced into service by Duke Wattiern DeLarouge, a ruthless patriot who’ll do anything to protect Trathlain, including blackmailing Gremlaw. With the lives of his mother and Huleta in the balance, Gremlaw has no choice but to accept the duke’s mission. The neighboring empire of Lavash has a new plot to conquer Trathlain using a drug known as Forever. Addictive at first use, the drug robs people of their wills and leaves them incapable of defeating their new addiction. Though he’s never been beyond the walls of his city, Gremlaw is sent out into Ough’s well-designed world to uncover the details of the plot and discover how the drug is being distributed to the border garrisons that protect Trathlain from invasion. Through many trials, Gremlaw must use his wit and his abilities if he hopes to return home and save the lives of the women he loves. With strong writing and characters to match, from Huleta’s staunch independence to the duke’s ends-justify-means attitude, Ough has penned a remarkable adventure. Though the very end of the second epilogue feels a little too pat, this is a journey worthy of readers’ attention.

Even as a novella, Ough has written a satisfying story that will make readers wish for more stories from this world.

Pub Date: July 31, 2014

ISBN: 978-0615987736

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Serealities Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2014

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

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

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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