A vibrant ecosystem of a novel that deals honestly with the beauty and horror of human and ecological connectedness.

MY VOLCANO

A genre-bending novel that circles a volcano mysteriously rising from the Central Park Reservoir.

On June 2, 2016, a jogger observes a geological protrusion slowly emerging in Central Park. Three weeks later, the formation, now determined to be a volcano, has grown to 2 1/2 miles tall and is upending life in New York City. Around the story of the volcano’s appearance Stintzi weaves the lives of the novel’s diverse characters, including a folklore professor, a Mongolian shepherd, a White trans science-fiction writer, a manager at the “emotion-managing service” startup Easy-Rupt, and an 8-year-old Mexican boy who is thrust back in time to Tenochtitlan in 1516. As the characters’ lives intersect, run parallel, and mirror each other, they experience an array of transformations: One slowly becomes a green network that incorporates all life in its path, while another discovers that she is turning to stone. In the background lurk the Otherwise, otherworldly beings capable of numerous rebirths. Among the narrative sections, Stintzi intersperses the dates and victims of real-world violence in 2016, including the Pulse nightclub shooting and the shooting of Alton Sterling by police officers in Baton Rouge. At times, this ambitious novel can feel unwieldy, with its weighty subject matter and complex, formal innovation. However, Stintzi has a gift for meticulously crafted worldbuilding and captures the tender drama of human (and, in this novel, extrahuman) relationships. Patient readers will be rewarded by their arrival at the book’s dazzling conclusion.

A vibrant ecosystem of a novel that deals honestly with the beauty and horror of human and ecological connectedness.

Pub Date: March 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-953387-16-5

Page Count: 330

Publisher: Two Dollar Radio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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