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PINEAPPLE STREET

A remarkably enjoyable visit with the annoying one percent, as close to crazy rich WASPs as WASPs can get.

Money makes the world go round, particularly the world of an elite Brooklyn family.

"On good days, Sasha could acknowledge how incredibly lucky she was to live in her house. It was a four-story Brooklyn limestone, a massive, formal palace that could have held ten of the one-bedroom apartments Sasha had lived in before. But on bad days...." As Sasha finally admits in a gloves-off monologue following a gender reveal party gone awry, on bad days, it's "a janky Grey Gardens full of old toothbrushes and moldy baskets." A wealthier cousin of Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's The Nest, Knopf editor Jackson's fiction debut is a comedy of manners charting the fates of the Stockton siblings and their spouses, circling around the house where they grew up in Brooklyn Heights, now inhabited by Cord and his wife, Sasha, who is referred to as the Gold Digger by Cord's sisters, Darley and Georgiana. That's unfair, though: Sasha signed a prenup. Meanwhile, Darley and her husband, Malcolm, a Korean American aviation-industry analyst who did not sign a prenup, are living off their own money as Darley fights the tedium of the entitled mommy lifestyle. Georgiana, much younger than her siblings, still single, is considered the do-gooder of the family because she works for a nonprofit, where she becomes involved in a passionate and very ill-advised relationship. From the opening scene, where Sasha's mother-in-law shows up to dinner with an entire replacement menu and a revised "tablescape," Jackson has a deft hand with all the passive-aggressive interactions that are so common in family life, perhaps particularly in this socio-economic stratum. She knows her party themes, her tennis clubs, her silent auctions, and her WASP family dynamics. Rich-people jokes, cultural acuity, and entertaining banter keep this novel moving at a sprightly pace as the characters learn their lessons about money and morals, though some of the virtuous reform seems a little much.

A remarkably enjoyable visit with the annoying one percent, as close to crazy rich WASPs as WASPs can get.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-59-349069-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

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A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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HOME IS WHERE THE BODIES ARE

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

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Three siblings on very different paths learn that their family home may be haunted by secrets.

Eldest daughter Beth is alone with her fading mother as she takes her final breath and says something about Beth’s long-departed brother and sister, who may not have disappeared forever. Beth is still reeling from the loss of her mother when her estranged siblings show up. Michael, the youngest, hasn’t been home since their father’s disappearance seven years ago. In the meantime, he’s outgrown his siblings, trading his share of the family troubles for a high-paying job in San Jose. Nicole, the middle child, has been overpowered by addiction and prioritized tuning out reality over any sense of responsibility, much to Beth’s disgust. Though their mother’s death marks an ending for the family, it’s also a beginning, as the three siblings realize when they find a disturbing videotape among their parents’ belongings. The video, from 1999, sheds suspicion on their father’s disappearance, linking it to a long-unsolved neighborhood mystery. Was it just a series of unfortunate circumstances that broke the family apart, or does something more sinister underlie the sadness they’ve all found in life? In chapters that rotate among the family’s first-person narratives, the siblings take turns digging up stories and secrets in their search for solace.

Answers are hard to come by in this twisting tale designed to trick and delight.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9798212182843

Page Count: 270

Publisher: Blackstone

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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