The noir formula readily accommodates Sallis’ mannered dialogue. Even so, most readers will feel a jarring split between the...


Just in time for fans of the Ryan Gosling film adaptation, the further adventures of Driver (Drive, 2005).

He’s been calling himself Paul West for seven years. That’s the name by which his fiancée, Elsa Jorgenson, knew him when she died, killed by a pair of goons Driver swiftly dispatched. But everyone outside Elsa’s family (“we are your family,” her father mournfully tells him) still calls him Driver. It’s presumably Driver, not Paul West, that the men sent to follow him are interested in. Acquiring an innocuous-looking Fairlane 500 and tweaking its engine, Driver begins to make more and more adventurous forays outside Phoenix, where he’s settled. He shares portentous conversations with his hardheaded buddy Felix and his screenwriter friend Manny. He hooks up with law student Stephanie Cooper, whose ex-cop father Bill is sitting in a nursing home indulging in even more cryptic exchanges with ex–Special Forces visitor Wendell. He takes a meeting with self-anointed problem solver James Beil, who hints that Driver’s problems may be closely akin to his own. He works his way up the food chain to post-Katrina carpetbagger Gerald Dunaway and big wolf Bennie Capel in a search for whoever’s sent the interchangeable guys who’ve been dogging his tracks. All the while, Sallis (The Killer Is Dying, 2011, etc.) is using his mouthpieces to dispense nonstop nuggets of existential wisdom (“We think we make choices. But what happens is the choices walk up, stand face to face with us, and stare us down”) that both prepare and compensate for the inconclusiveness of the plot.

The noir formula readily accommodates Sallis’ mannered dialogue. Even so, most readers will feel a jarring split between the ostensibly thrilling tale and the downbeat commonplaces that punctuate it, or vice versa.

Pub Date: April 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4642-0010-6

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Poisoned Pen

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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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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