We repeat our earlier prayer to Arkham House, that they reprint the original Outsider and Others (1939), the basic text for...

THE CHILDREN OF CTHULHU

CHILLING NEW TALES INSPIRED BY H.P. LOVECRAFT

The spirit of the Rhode Island Master descends upon 23 disciples willing to summon up the squids and squirms of the 20th-century’s weirdest and most influential horror writer. Over 107 other Cthulhu-“inspired” books cling to the eldritch penman from Providence. One tastes less of the coppery tang of blood from Lovecraft’s pen than the ripple of fear when cosmic Yog-Sothoths slip under your skin and race up your back—and you go about switching on lamps and the backyard houselight, checking the garage, weighing the creaks in the attic, and choosing not to go down to the cellar. Standouts here include esteemed stylist Poppy Z. Brite’s “Are You Loathsome Tonight?”—a tale worthy of Elvis’s blue suede shoes that ties up the Tupalo Troubador’s favored peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches fried in butter with Lovecraft’s thoughts about sensation. Brite in no way tries to explain or come to grips with Lovecraft, whose aliens remain unknowable even to him. Just as the unconscious is truly unconscious and not to be plumbed, aliens we might understand would no longer be alien. As Pelan and Adams explain, describing his creations out of space and time, Lovecraft’s Cthulhu and Nyarlathotep are beyond genealogy. In China Miéville’s “Details,” an old woman recluse sees something looking at her from the lines of a brick wall and the leaves of a tree, something that is colonizing her memories and mind. Also here: the late and grisly Richard Laymon, with “The Cabin in the Woods”—about the “horrible thing” that wants to get into his cabin after sunset—and Caitlìn R. Kiernan (the recent Trilobite), who, in “Nor the Demons Down Under the Sea,” brings her glorious prose to bear on the geology of horror.

We repeat our earlier prayer to Arkham House, that they reprint the original Outsider and Others (1939), the basic text for all Lovecraft fans.

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2002

ISBN: 0-345-44926-6

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2001

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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