Another somewhat mystic parable about middle-aged crazy and our search for meaning in a world that has lost its way.


A stranger on a journey experiences much of life’s bounties and disappointments.

Brazilian author Noll is a weird cat, as evidenced by previous work including Lord (2019) and Atlantic Hotel (2017), and there's not much variation from his usual modus operandi here. We meet a nameless, emotionally adrift narrator who seems to exist in his own constant fugue state and shows signs of being an unreliable narrator. He's looking for the titular lost city in an unknown nation, starting out as something of a vagrant, sleeping under a tree and fishing naked with a fellow traveler before wandering into a hotel straight out of Hotel California. There, he finds a poster for a nearby play by a Russian author named Yuri Dupont, starring two spectacular women with whom he is immediately lured into a sexual threesome that turns quite unexpectedly into a foursome. Afterward, he flees the hotel and is offered a job facilitating cockfights by an old friend. He tries to explain what he used to be: “I was an artist, an actor. And since then, ever since I left the profession or was left by it, I don’t know, since then I can’t do anything else. It’s not that I haven’t tried, I have, but now I don’t even try anymore; I’ll explain why: everything I do is like acting, you see?” It doesn’t make much more sense from here. He wanders into a church called the Temple of Gentleness, reunites with his uncle, Alexandre, takes a day job as a secretary, and marries a cipher of a woman named Jane who leaves him because he can’t give her a child. He soon moves into a shelter, connecting with a young woman who may or may not be related to him. The writing is excellent and strange in the fashion of much of the Argentinian fabulists, but there’s no real point to it.

Another somewhat mystic parable about middle-aged crazy and our search for meaning in a world that has lost its way.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-949641-05-9

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Two Lines Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.


An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.

How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.

A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life.

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-52-555947-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.


In December 1926, mystery writer Agatha Christie really did disappear for 11 days. Was it a hoax? Or did her husband resort to foul play?

When Agatha meets Archie on a dance floor in 1912, the obscure yet handsome pilot quickly sweeps her off her feet with his daring. Archie seems smitten with her. Defying her family’s expectations, Agatha consents to marry Archie rather than her intended, the reliable yet boring Reggie Lucy. Although the war keeps them apart, straining their early marriage, Agatha finds meaningful work as a nurse and dispensary assistant, jobs that teach her a lot about poisons, knowledge that helps shape her early short stories and novels. While Agatha’s career flourishes after the war, Archie suffers setback after setback. Determined to keep her man happy, Agatha finds herself cooking elaborate meals, squelching her natural affections for their daughter (after all, Archie must always feel like the most important person in her life), and downplaying her own troubles, including her grief over her mother's death. Nonetheless, Archie grows increasingly morose. In fact, he is away from home the day Agatha disappears. By the time Detective Chief Constable Kenward arrives, Agatha has already been missing for a day. After discovering—and burning—a mysterious letter from Agatha, Archie is less than eager to help the police. His reluctance and arrogance work against him, and soon the police, the newspapers, the Christies’ staff, and even his daughter’s classmates suspect him of harming his wife. Benedict concocts a worthy mystery of her own, as chapters alternate between Archie’s negotiation of the investigation and Agatha’s recounting of their relationship. She keeps the reader guessing: Which narrator is reliable? Who is the real villain?

A compelling portrait of a marriage gone desperately sour.

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8272-1

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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