Sharp, fast and funny: a first from lawyer (and former Harvard Lampoon editor) Canter.



A naïve Boston shrink falls into the clutches of the legal system—and has to learn fast what the real world is all about.

Poor Leonardo Cook: Unhappily divorced and still grieving over his ex-wife’s adulteries, he goes mechanically through the daily motions—sleeping through his patients’ sessions, taking his teenaged son Harvey out on the court-appointed days, meeting his barista girlfriend Chrissie at Starbucks at the end of her shift—as if he’s numbed to life. But fate takes a sharp turn when Leonardo makes his first mistake by responding to a lawyer’s cry for help: A deranged computer software designer has barricaded himself in his company’s offices, and the corporate counsel begs Leonardo to come and talk the fellow out of suicide. Actually, Eugene Bihn isn’t deranged but furious: The revolutionary program he designed is going to make DeltaTek a fortune, and Eugene (who in a fit of stupidity signed away his DeltaTek options) is threatening to post it on the Internet unless he’s reimbursed. Leonardo calms Eugene down, but then cloddish security officers charge into the office anyway, prompting Eugene to jump out a seventh-story window and very nearly kill himself. In the aftermath of the tragedy (which caused the price of DeltaTek shares to jump and dip like a cardiogram), Leonardo is first sued by Eugene on a number of counts (including violation of the disability rights of a lunatic), then invited to side with him as a star witness in Eugene’s much bigger suit against DeltaTek. But DeltaTek’s lawyers are willing to play the same two-sided game—especially when it comes out that Leonardo’s ex-wife owned shares of DeltaTek that now constitute proof of Leonardo’s participation in insider trading. All this because he wanted to do some poor loser a favor?

Sharp, fast and funny: a first from lawyer (and former Harvard Lampoon editor) Canter.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 1-4022-0214-8

Page Count: 204

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2004

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Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

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Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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