by J.M. Coetzee ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 26, 2020
For Coetzee completists, though not up to masterworks like Waiting for the Barbarians and Life & Times of Michael K.
Nobel Prize–winning author Coetzee concludes the biblically tinged trilogy he began with The Childhood of Jesus in 2013.
The title gives it all away, though it’s not the familiar Jesus who dies. Instead, it’s Coetzee’s protagonist, David, now 10 years old. Readers of the predecessor volumes will recall that he’s a foundling, although his adoptive father and mother, in their roles more or less by accident, aren’t quite sure what to do with him. David is a handful, committed to reading only one book, a child’s version of Don Quixote. Simón, the father, recalls that he borrowed the book from a library in Novilla, a city in an unnamed but presumably Latin American country, and “instead of returning it to the library as a good citizen would have done, David kept it for himself.” It becomes the willful boy’s lodestone. Meanwhile, he decides that, since he’s an orphan, he ought to live in an orphanage—and one just happens to be handy, one whose director is recruiting a soccer team. David is a natural standout at the game, and he becomes the ringleader of a crew of—well, disciples, to whom he imparts a message that none will reveal when he sickens, the victim of a mysterious ailment, and dies. Figures from those predecessor volumes turn up, including Simón’s bête noire, Dmitri, who knows David’s thoughts as well as anyone; another character named Alyosha provides a second allusion to The Brothers Karamazov, though most of the characters bear names straight out of the Bible. As for David’s mother, Inés, the death of her son is enough to drive her away, “leaving the man alone in a strange city, mourning his losses.” Coetzee’s tone is flat and matter-of-fact throughout, and the book feels slightly underdone, with several unanswered questions—the most central of them that message, at which we can only guess.For Coetzee completists, though not up to masterworks like Waiting for the Barbarians and Life & Times of Michael K.
Pub Date: May 26, 2020
Page Count: 208
Review Posted Online: March 1, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020
Share your opinion of this book
by James McBride ‧ RELEASE DATE: Aug. 8, 2023
If it’s possible for America to have a poet laureate, why can’t James McBride be its storyteller-in-chief?
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2023
New York Times Bestseller
McBride follows up his hit novel Deacon King Kong (2020) with another boisterous hymn to community, mercy, and karmic justice.
It's June 1972, and the Pennsylvania State Police have some questions concerning a skeleton found at the bottom of an old well in the ramshackle Chicken Hill section of Pottstown that’s been marked for redevelopment. But Hurricane Agnes intervenes by washing away the skeleton and all other physical evidence of a series of extraordinary events that began more than 40 years earlier, when Jewish and African American citizens shared lives, hopes, and heartbreak in that same neighborhood. At the literal and figurative heart of these events is Chona Ludlow, the forbearing, compassionate Jewish proprietor of the novel’s eponymous grocery store, whose instinctive kindness and fairness toward the Black families of Chicken Hill exceed even that of her husband, Moshe, who, with Chona’s encouragement, desegregates his theater to allow his Black neighbors to fully enjoy acts like Chick Webb’s swing orchestra. Many local White Christians frown upon the easygoing relationship between Jews and Blacks, especially Doc Roberts, Pottstown’s leading physician, who marches every year in the local Ku Klux Klan parade. The ties binding the Ludlows to their Black neighbors become even stronger over the years, but that bond is tested most stringently and perilously when Chona helps Nate Timblin, a taciturn Black janitor at Moshe’s theater and the unofficial leader of his community, conceal and protect a young orphan named Dodo who lost his hearing in an explosion. He isn’t at all “feeble-minded,” but the government wants to put him in an institution promising little care and much abuse. The interlocking destinies of these and other characters make for tense, absorbing drama and, at times, warm, humane comedy. McBride’s well-established skill with narrative tactics may sometimes spill toward the melodramatic here. But as in McBride’s previous works, you barely notice such relatively minor contrivances because of the depth of characterizations and the pitch-perfect dialogue of his Black and Jewish characters. It’s possible to draw a clear, straight line from McBride’s breakthrough memoir, The Color of Water (1996), to the themes of this latest work.If it’s possible for America to have a poet laureate, why can’t James McBride be its storyteller-in-chief?
Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2023
Page Count: 400
Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023
Share your opinion of this book
by Susan Mallery ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2022
A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.
Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.
Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.
Pub Date: May 31, 2022
Page Count: 352
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Review Posted Online: March 15, 2022
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022
Share your opinion of this book
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!