As she seeks to repair bridges, Cat awakens anger and treachery in the hearts of those she once betrayed. Making amends,...

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SUMMER SECRETS

Before sobriety, Catherine "Cat" Coombs had it all: fun friends, an exciting job, and a love affair with alcohol. Until she blacked out one more time and woke up in a stranger’s bed.

By that time, “having it all” had already devolved into hiding the extent of her drinking from everyone she cared about, including herself. Luckily for Cat, the stranger turned out to be Jason Halliwell, a rather delicious television director marking three years, eight months, and 69 days of sobriety. Inspired by Jason—or rather, inspired by the prospect of a romantic relationship with this handsome hunk—Cat joins him at AA meetings and embarks on her own journey toward clarity. But sobriety won’t work until Cat commits to it for herself. Their relationship is tumultuous, as Cat falls off the wagon time and again. Along the way, Cat discovers that the cold man she grew up endlessly failing to please was not her real father, and with his death, her mother’s secret escapes. So she heads for Nantucket, where she meets her drunken dad and two half sisters—one boisterously welcoming and the other sulkily suspicious—and where she commits an unforgivable blunder. Years later, despairing of her persistent relapses, Jason has left Cat, taking their daughter with him. Finally, painfully, Cat gets clean. Green (Saving Grace, 2014, etc.) handles grim issues with a sure hand, balancing light romance with tense family drama. She unflinchingly documents Cat’s humiliations under the influence and then traces her commitment to sobriety. Simultaneously masking the motivations of those surrounding our heroine, Green sets up a surprising karmic lesson.

As she seeks to repair bridges, Cat awakens anger and treachery in the hearts of those she once betrayed. Making amends, like addiction, may endanger her future.

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-04734-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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THE GLASS HOTEL

A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 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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