Literary satire finds redemption as a character ruled by his genitals discovers he has a heart.



A very funny novel that gets darker and goes deeper as it progresses.

Farce teeters toward tragedy in this novel about an Irish author who long ago enjoyed a critical and popular breakthrough with an international best-seller. He has since sold his services to the highest Hollywood bidder while indulging his voracious appetites without moral compunction. Then he finds himself at the juncture of unlikely coincidence—just as he learns that he is in serious American tax trouble, he receives an extraordinarily generous teaching fellowship in Britain, which he initially resists at least partly because the faculty also includes one of his ex-wives. Protagonist Kennedy Marr is a familiar character, a literary scoundrel who retains his charm; even he acknowledges, in a serious turn, that “he was the most awful, dread cliché: the middle-aged novelist trying to come to terms with his own mortality.” Where it initially seems that Niven (The Second Coming, 2012, etc.) might not have much to offer beyond some hearty laughter (there’s an episode about multitasking with pornography, and ruining another laptop in the process, that is particularly slapstick), the novel turns into an argument about just what a novel—and a life—should be. “The purpose of art is to delight. Not to enlighten. Not to teach,” Kennedy insists, before he develops into a character who proves teachable, if not enlightened. He recognizes that he hasn’t been much of a father to his teenage daughter or son to his dying mother, that at least one of his marriages might have enriched his life if he’d taken it more seriously, and that he has squandered most of life on “another set of sensations to throw in the face of the abyss.” His escapades with an actress, a student and whoever else is handy lead unexpectedly to a climax that is deliriously ambitious and richly satisfying.

Literary satire finds redemption as a character ruled by his genitals discovers he has a heart.

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2303-9

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Black Cat/Grove

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.


In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

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A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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