A dramatic and absorbing tale of a historic storm.

HARRY AND THE HURRICANE

Based on real events, this debut illustrated children’s book tells the story of how a boy, his family, and his dog survive the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926.

Harry Berg is almost 4 years old when his family relocates from Detroit to Miami in search of new opportunities, like many white Northerners of the time. For Harry and his little brother, Russ, Miami is excitingly different from up north, with its palm trees, tropical flowers, and exotic-sounding neighborhoods. The Bergs settle in, adopt a stray puppy they name Patches, and move first into a duplex and then to a small house that, though covered in tar paper, actually contains an indoor toilet. Life is good—and then a huge storm hits Miami on Sept. 18, 1926. In their frail house, the family prays to stay alive. After passing safely through the eye of the hurricane, the group finds the next day even more terrifying. Harry, clutching Patches tight, manages to find safety with neighbors in their Model T; everyone survives. Though for years afterward the boy has nightmares, they eventually fade. Looking back in 2006, Harry realizes the hurricane taught him the importance of protecting those you love and to “Fear Nothing” because protective forces watch over everyone. An afterword, epilogue, and family photographs round out the story, along with simple but attractive monochrome images by debut illustrator Petersmark; the full-color cover is somewhat misleading in showing a cheerful Harry mid-hurricane. In his book, author Gordon Berg draws on family history and hurricane survivors’ accounts. The terrifying event comes alive, not just its destructiveness, but also small details. Hiding under a table, Harry notices “the faded alphabet I had scrawled underneath when I was in first grade. If I could rearrange the letters now, they would spell, ‘HELP US.’ ” Adding to the drama, the hurricane comments on the action like a psychopathic killer: “I blew her house apart a few hours ago. She is now tying herself to a tree….What is that she’s holding? A baby…wrapped in a blanket. My my.” Though harrowing, the story effectively emphasizes faith and mutual support.

A dramatic and absorbing tale of a historic storm.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-943995-96-7

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Mission Point Press

Review Posted Online: March 30, 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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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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