Menaghan's verse is quite wonderful when he does not stray too far from his roots. He should indeed have `beg[ged] for an...

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

Menaghan was born in New Jersey to Irish-American parents. He now spends summers in Ireland and lives the rest of the year in Venice, California. Among other awards, he has won an Academy of American Poets Prize. This is Menaghan's first published collection, and as such it marks an auspicious beginning. Menaghan's work is humorous, ironic, erotic, neurotic, and tender both by turns and often simultaneously. In one poem, called simply `Fire,` he describes the passion of two lovers in terms that are sensual and metaphysical in a manner reminiscent of John Donne. `We brand our flesh forever with each other's fingerprints.` Many of the verses in the first half of the collection dwell on relationships in which there is at least the hope of sexual fulfillment, as when a friend of the poet reveals she is considering becoming a nun. `I cup your marble hands in mine, and coax you into one more glass of wine.` Here Menaghan's voice rings clearly and truly. But about midway through the volume, he becomes conscious of what he's doing and his voice cracks. He tries to be hip and modern, composing a series of poems on jazz legends rather than to the people he knows, and loses much of the momentum generated by his earlier works.

Menaghan's verse is quite wonderful when he does not stray too far from his roots. He should indeed have `beg[ged] for an incomplete in Modernism.`

Pub Date: April 21, 2000

ISBN: 1-897648-45-6

Page Count: 82

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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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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A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy,...

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

Britisher Haddon debuts in the adult novel with the bittersweet tale of a 15-year-old autistic who’s also a math genius.

Christopher Boone has had some bad knocks: his mother has died (well, she went to the hospital and never came back), and soon after he found a neighbor’s dog on the front lawn, slain by a garden fork stuck through it. A teacher said that he should write something that he “would like to read himself”—and so he embarks on this book, a murder mystery that will reveal who killed Mrs. Shears’s dog. First off, though, is a night in jail for hitting the policeman who questions him about the dog (the cop made the mistake of grabbing the boy by the arm when he can’t stand to be touched—any more than he can stand the colors yellow or brown, or not knowing what’s going to happen next). Christopher’s father bails him out but forbids his doing any more “detecting” about the dog-murder. When Christopher disobeys (and writes about it in his book), a fight ensues and his father confiscates the book. In time, detective-Christopher finds it, along with certain other clues that reveal a very great deal indeed about his mother’s “death,” his father’s own part in it—and the murder of the dog. Calming himself by doing roots, cubes, prime numbers, and math problems in his head, Christopher runs away, braves a train-ride to London, and finds—his mother. How can this be? Read and see. Neither parent, if truth be told, is the least bit prepossessing or more than a cutout. Christopher, though, with pet rat Toby in his pocket and advanced “maths” in his head, is another matter indeed, and readers will cheer when, way precociously, he takes his A-level maths and does brilliantly.

A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash.

Pub Date: June 17, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-50945-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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