THE JAPAN CONSPIRACY

Washington columnist Anderson (The Cambodia File, 1981, with Bill Pronzini; etc.)—famed and prized for his exposure of real-life evil political deeds—cooks up fictional thrills having to do with ruthless Japanese who still carry a grudge and have the billions in gold bullion to do something about it. As America's ill-advised, inexperienced President Walton (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) prepares to fly off to Osaka for a summit with the Japanese prime minister, pretty, ambitious, orphaned, young lawyeress Alison Carey and moody, insecure, but basically swell young lawyer Kevin Daulton—employees of a vastly powerful L.A.- D.C. law firm—slave over an immensely complex stock offering for a rabidly anti-Japanese conglomerateur. But what's this? Alison's first glimpse of her firm's ultrapowerful senior partner reveals him to be the same powerful manipulator she just happened to see secretly hobnobbing with even more ultrapowerful Japanese executives on a visit to her sister in, of all places, Guam. Wouldn't his loyalties be, you know, divided? At the same time, Elinor Woods—the kindly, attractive junior senator from California—gets an anonymous note on CIA letterhead urging her to ask the secretary of state what he knows about something called the ``O Fund,'' which she does, scaring the bejeebers out of the secretary and giving her committee chairman apoplexy. On the West Coast, the young lawyers look into the doings of their treacherous boss. On the East Coast, the senator and her dedicated Chicano chief of staff look into the ``O Fund,'' which has something to do with ill-gotten Manchurian gains. In Japan, a cabal of imperialist industrialists, gangsters, and politicians prepare to bring about the total collapse of the American financial system while President Walton is in Osaka suffering, as did his predecessor, from an upset stomach. It's all one big conspiracy. Heartstopping for foreign-policy wonks, who will, presumably, not be put off by bureaucratic dialogue (``Farrow grunted. `Gold was essential, of course' '').

Pub Date: July 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-8217-4212-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1993

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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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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