by Hunter S. Thompson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 14, 1998
The original Gonzo journalist (Proud Highway, 1997, etc.) spent a sober afternoon going through his archives to find this unpublished novel (his only fiction), written at the start of his career. He might as well have let it rest in peace. Thompson’s great achievement as a writer, of course, has been the role he played in the development of the “new journalism”of the1960s. Making the most of a vicious wit, sharp tongue, and riotous imagination, Thompson infused his reporting—most famously, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas—with a vigor and depth of personality usually associated more with novels than with newspapers, helping thereby to raise the literary status of nonfiction. It’s hardly a surprise, then, to learn that Thompson has had a novel locked away in a desk drawer all these years. What’s surprising is how much less compelling it is than his journalism. Paul Kemp, the narrator, is a young New Yorker starting out as a newspaperman in Puerto Rico in the late —50s. Soon after arriving in San Juan, he manages to land a job at the Daily News, an English- language rag whose staff—an assortment of has-beens, mad geniuses, drunks, and spongers—would seem more at home in the Foreign Legion. The legendary Thompson manner (“Arriving half-drunk in a foreign place is hard on the nerves”) is flourished here, all right, and the typical Thompson high jinks of public misbehavior and private lewdness make up most of the story, which is more portrait than tale. There are fights in bars and trouble with cops. There are crazy chicks from Smith who like to undress in public. There are writers who, though broke, always manage to get an assignment just before their landlady evicts them. And through the whole of it, there is one febrile intelligence noticing and reporting on everything that takes place both inside and outside of himself. A fun drive that takes you nowhere much. Thompson fans won—t be disappointed, of course, but most everyone else would be better off going to Henry Miller for that sort of thing.
Pub Date: Oct. 14, 1998
Page Count: 304
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1998
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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.
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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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