A laudable story with robust female characters and skillfully woven themes of race and gender.

CITY IN A FOREST

Two women with strong ties to historic land in Atlanta fight to prevent a developer from building luxury condos on the site in this debut drama.

Arden Collier lives in Silver Park, which her grandfather set up years ago. Due to its significance to the African American community, the land has been designated for historic preservation. Regardless, Buddy Caldwell, a developer, plans to build a six-story condominium complex in Silver Park. Not surprisingly, Arden refuses to sell her property to Caldwell, who tries to convince the county to seize it under eminent domain. But 52-year-old Parker Gozer owns much of the land in Silver Lake, as her father, Foster, who “built half of Atlanta,” left it to her. She’s a public relations director for a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., but is currently in Atlanta on business. She likewise has no interest in selling to Caldwell or even being in his company. He once worked for her father and, 10 years Parker’s senior, took advantage of her when she was barely a teen. Arden will get her chance to argue against the condo development at an upcoming summons hearing. But it will be a battle to keep her home, even with her childhood friend Parker on her side. Pinholster steeps her novel in absorbing subplots. Arden, for example, is an artist struggling financially, as critics tore apart her last show, while Parker works long hours to support her family, putting a strain on her marriage to Beamer. Instances of sexism and racism are apparent but not blatantly so. Caldwell is guilty of both, as it seems he wants the advocacy of the summons hearing chairperson solely because she’s a woman of color. Many of the men are unfortunately one-dimensional, including Parker’s relentlessly condescending boss, who calls her “Parky,” and likable but flighty Beamer, whose phone is typically off despite his wife’s hours-long daily commute. On the other hand, Arden and Parker are astute and tenacious, aided by an often witty narrative. Parker resists the urge to fingernail-slash Caldwell in order to retain “a perfectly good manicure.”

A laudable story with robust female characters and skillfully woven themes of race and gender.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68433-318-9

Page Count: 210

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Review Posted Online: July 9, 2019

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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TRUE BETRAYALS

Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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