A light, funny account of a woman’s attempt to make it in New York.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

A woman takes the “fake it till you make it” approach to a new level after moving to New York City in this comic novel from Darling (I’ll Know Me When I Find Me, 2018). 

Thirty-five-year-old Jane Desmond has moved to New York, hoping to break into the publishing industry. Unfortunately, her mother, Linda, back home in Virginia, can’t stop badgering her for updates. Jane agrees to post one selfie a day to Facebook in order to assuage any maternal anxieties—and to show off her glamorous new lifestyle. The only problem? Her life isn’t actually that glamorous. She’s having trouble finding an apartment and a job, and her car window is quickly smashed within three hours of her arrival. But her mom doesn’t have to know that, right? As Jane begins selectively editing her selfies for the folks at home, she ends up presenting an increasingly rosy—and fictional—version of her life in the big city. Unfortunately, the lies told for her mother’s benefit begin to take their toll: “the pressure of constructing a happy story for her benefit drained me in a way I hadn’t anticipated. Each day she responded to my posts, ‘Looks like you’re doing great!’ and I was, I was fine, but not in the way she thought I was.” Can Jane figure out a way to live honestly in New York without feeling like a total loser? Darling narrates Jane’s misadventures with empathy and irony in equal measure. Once Jane moves into an apartment above a fish market, her neighbor Tessa explains that cats love their fire escape: “They’re nice company but don’t pet them. I did once when I first moved in and the thing bit me, and then my hand got infected. So just smile and wave.” The novel is rather thin on plot, but the urban experiences are well told and should be enjoyable to anyone who has moved alone to a new city. Although Jane suffers a number of minor catastrophes, the book never gets so dark that it will put off readers looking for light fiction. This is Darling’s second novel about Jane, and while readers don’t need to be familiar with the first one to follow the plot of this book, they may end up looking forward to the next one.

A light, funny account of a woman’s attempt to make it in New York.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9997003-3-4

Page Count: 364

Publisher: Bricolage Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 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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A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

A WEEK AT THE SHORE

A middle-aged woman returns to her childhood home to care for her ailing father, confronting many painful secrets from her past.

When Mallory Aldiss gets a call from a long-ago boyfriend telling her that her elderly father has been gallivanting around town with a gun in his hand, Mallory decides it’s time to return to the small Rhode Island town that she’s been avoiding for more than a decade. Mallory’s precocious 13-year-old daughter, Joy, is thrilled that she'll get to meet her grandfather at long last, and an aunt, too, and she'll finally see the place where her mother grew up. When they arrive in Bay Bluff, it’s barely a few hours before Mallory bumps into her old flame, Jack, the only man she’s ever really loved. Gone is the rebellious young person she remembers, and in his place stands a compassionate, accomplished adult. As they try to reconnect, Mallory realizes that the same obstacle that pushed them apart decades earlier is still standing in their way: Jack blames Mallory’s father for his mother’s death. No one knows exactly how Jack’s mother died, but Jack thinks a love affair between her and Mallory’s father had something to do with it. As Jack and Mallory chase down answers, Mallory also tries to repair her rocky relationships with her two sisters and determine why her father has always been so hard on her. Told entirely from Mallory’s perspective, the novel has a haunting, nostalgic quality. Despite the complex and overlapping layers to the history of Bay Bluff and its inhabitants, the book at times trudges too slowly through Mallory’s meanderings down Memory Lane. Even so, Delinsky sometimes manages to pick up the pace, and in those moments the beauty and nuance of this complicated family tale shine through. Readers who don’t mind skimming past details that do little to advance the plot may find that the juicier nuggets and realistically rendered human connections are worth the effort.

A touching family drama that effectively explores the negative impact of stress on fragile relationships.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-11951-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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