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ISLAND FOG

A spellbinding collection that explodes every anodyne myth about Nantucket while fostering some new ones.

Two centuries of strange on Nantucket Island.

In Vanderslice’s new collection, the eponymous fog is a metaphor for moral ambiguity. “Guilty Look” provides an early (set in 1795) example of bankers exploiting the justice system for personal gain. In “King Philip’s War” (1823), the uneasy friendship of two boys, white and Indian, echoes the détente between their respective populations. Orpha, who has heard nothing of her whaler husband, Reuben, for more than three years, happily gives up on him in “On Cherry Street” (1837). In “Taste” (1846), Gideon, a once-promising ship’s captain, has worked as a night watchman for almost three decades, since his ship was wrecked by a sperm whale. In weeks adrift on a small boat, Gideon resorted to cannibalism, a “taste” which has not left him since. On Vanderslice’s Nantucket, modernity does nothing to mediate the macabre, menacing and mysterious. In “How Long Will You Tarry?” (1920), a black schoolteacher descended from the island’s African settlers encounters an eerie reminder of incipient racial prejudice on her walk home. A plumber is forced to face the truth about the only woman who loved him in “Morning Meal” (1999). The increasingly upscale Nantucket of the 2000s harbors even more danger. In “Beaten,” a vacationer’s daily run becomes a nightmare as a stranger dogs his steps like a Nike-clad fury. A gay man suddenly summoned off island by a fickle Bostonian lover weighs his options while a nightly, ghostly presence weighs down his chest in “Haunted.” The title of “Newfoundland” suggests the longed-for escape of a successful auto dealer whose social-climbing wife is bankrupting him. Hosanna, a Jamaican single mother who's trying to survive with her two children by running a snack shop, finds her precarious security further undermined by the woman she trusted to manage the slacker summer help in “Managing Business.” In the supremely unsettling title story, Doug, another slacker, finds himself drawn into a Faustian bargain with a uniquely New England twist.

A spellbinding collection that explodes every anodyne myth about Nantucket while fostering some new ones.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-935084-41-9

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Lavender Ink

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

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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