A deft, entertaining religious satire recommended for members of the atheistic choir.

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CAN SATAN RESCUE ME?

HOW TO END THE BATTLE OF THE SEXES AND ACHIEVE GLOBAL TRANQUILITY

Kamm (Over the Edge, 2013) mines the historical roots of misogyny in this Satan-narrated novel.

Kate Briarstone is a beautiful presidential candidate who seeks to conquer violence toward women throughout the world. Her closest ally in the fight is her beloved husband, known as “Beelzy,” who, unbeknownst to the electorate, is Satan in human form. He’s not the Satan of biblical literature, however, but rather a compassionate, regretful and completely sex-obsessed devil whose “reputation has been tarnished far too long.” In this novel, he describes his role in the creation of Eve, his witnessing the births of Isaac and Jesus, and his arguments with the “bent and gnomish” “pleasure killer” St. Paul. He goes on to detail his involvement in everything from Ancient Greece’s orgies to Voltaire’s authorship of Candide to modern-day therapy sessions with savage male chauvinists. This version of Satan, like the novel itself, is very funny and often brilliant. Kamm probes and scorns hypocrisy and hatred with a biting humor that elicits awkward laughter, as many of his targets hit close to home. The novel nimbly jumps across time periods and different prose styles (as in Kate’s interviews with television talk show hosts named Charlie Tulip and Barry Queen). It also tackles issues across the sociopolitical spectrum with a polished ease. Kamm’s critiques of organized religion, however, sometimes veer toward atheistic proselytizing, even as they bristle with energy. This novel isn’t recommended for anyone who’s ever used the word “blasphemous” with sincerity; it’s filled with statements that may shock those who have even a slight religious bent. Its graphic descriptions of sex may elicit grimaces from squeamish readers, and some men may object to the nearly ubiquitous depiction of males as spiteful simpletons. In this tale, piety is not a virtue, and God is not benevolent.

A deft, entertaining religious satire recommended for members of the atheistic choir.

Pub Date: April 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-1492294405

Page Count: 538

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2014

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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