by Joshua Ferris ‧ RELEASE DATE: Jan. 1, 2010
Audacious, risky and powerfully bleak, with the author’s unflinching artistry its saving grace.
A successful lawyer finds himself blindsided by a mysterious affliction in Ferris’ sophomore effort, an even more ambitious and provocative novel than PEN/Hemingway Award winner Then We Came to the End (2007).
Tim Farnsworth’s condition has no name (hence the title), and it may disappear for years at a time, but when it returns, Tim feels compelled to walk with no destination, to the point of exhaustion, abandoning all responsibilities of work and family until the disease disappears as mysteriously as it has arrived. With echoes of Samuel Beckett, Tim explains the inexplicable, “You go on and on. Your one note gets repetitive, it’s taxing.” And some readers might well find this novel taxing in its repetition—as taxing as Tim’s wife, Jane, finds dealing with her husband as she also battles first alcoholism and then cancer. As in the author’s first novel, office politics play a part here, and there’s a deft interweave of the comic and the tragic, but ultimately this dark narrative permits only one ending. With Tim and his doctors trying to determine whether his problem is physical or mental, the book can be read as a parable of addiction or any other condition that refuses to recognize a distinction between mind and body. Or simply as a meditation on the human condition, an evocation of “the ordinary banality of endurance” beneath “the blank expression of eternity.” This is Ferris’ Something Happened—appropriately enough, since some reviews of Then We Came to the End invoked Catch-22—defying in its very premise “the rigid orthodoxies of cause and effect!” upon which most fiction depends.Audacious, risky and powerfully bleak, with the author’s unflinching artistry its saving grace.
Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010
Page Count: 320
Publisher: Reagan Arthur/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2009
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by Lisa Jewell ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 24, 2018
Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.
Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.
Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.
Pub Date: April 24, 2018
Page Count: 368
Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018
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by Christina Lauren ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 10, 2018
With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.
Eleven years ago, he broke her heart. But he doesn’t know why she never forgave him.
Toggling between past and present, two love stories unfold simultaneously. In the first, Macy Sorensen meets and falls in love with the boy next door, Elliot Petropoulos, in the closet of her dad’s vacation home, where they hide out to discuss their favorite books. In the second, Macy is working as a doctor and engaged to a single father, and she hasn’t spoken to Elliot since their breakup. But a chance encounter forces her to confront the truth: what happened to make Macy stop speaking to Elliot? Ultimately, they’re separated not by time or physical remoteness but by emotional distance—Elliot and Macy always kept their relationship casual because they went to different schools. And as a teen, Macy has more to worry about than which girl Elliot is taking to the prom. After losing her mother at a young age, Macy is navigating her teenage years without a female role model, relying on the time-stamped notes her mother left in her father’s care for guidance. In the present day, Macy’s father is dead as well. She throws herself into her work and rarely comes up for air, not even to plan her upcoming wedding. Since Macy is still living with her fiance while grappling with her feelings for Elliot, the flashbacks offer steamy moments, tender revelations, and sweetly awkward confessions while Macy makes peace with her past and decides her future.With frank language and patient plotting, this gangly teen crush grows into a confident adult love affair.
Pub Date: April 10, 2018
Page Count: 416
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2018
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018
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