A rousing pirate tale and a welcome addition to the Flurry series.

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THE RISING TIDE

From the Flurry the Bear series , Vol. 5

A courageous bear sails the high seas in this fifth installment of a children’s fantasy series.

Back at home after his latest exploits, Flurry, the live teddy bear, is annoyed when his human mother admonishes him for stealing a pirate movie. Flurry goes to bed, only to wake up to discover that his room has been replaced by the ocean. Flurry and his four plush friends—Noah, Boaz, Honja, and Caboose—pilot their floating bed to shore, where they find themselves on the outskirts of Tigris, a city inhabited by walking, talking tigers. They quickly run into Flurry’s old friend Chingu and old frenemy Drizzle, who are in Tigris looking for Chingu’s brother, Shinyuu, who has been seized by pirates. The group manages to locate Shinyuu, but only after being abducted. They learn they are being taken to the dreaded pirate king Black Bear’d. “He’s the most ruthless and evil pirate there ever was,” another prisoner informs them. “He’s as ferocious at sea as any other grizzly bear would be on land.” A new mission emerges: rescue the captured Capt. White Cloud and keep Black Bear’d from building a secret army, whose vile purposes are more than those of the average pirate. The biggest thing standing in their way is Black Bear’d’s powerful sorcerer, Theran—and, of course, Flurry’s penchant for letting his pride screw up the plans of his friends. Skye’s (Churchianity Pandemic, 2017, etc.) prose is direct and lively, conveying the excitement that Flurry feels through every step of the escapade. The book succeeds in evoking the unfettered imagination of youth: simple conflicts of good vs. evil, with plenty of cannons, sword fights, and swashbuckling. The author makes a minor nod to the trauma these recurring conflicts have on the protagonist—“Flurry’s parents managed to make an arrangement for him to get therapy over the phone, since it would not be possible to take a living, breathing teddy bear to the therapist’s office”—but in general this is adventure without consequence, experienced by a hero who is part animal, part toy, and part energetic boy who never wants to go to bed.

A rousing pirate tale and a welcome addition to the Flurry series.

Pub Date: June 30, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-47805-9

Page Count: 268

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2017

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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THE GLASS HOTEL

A financier's Ponzi scheme unravels to disastrous effect, revealing the unexpected connections among a cast of disparate characters.

How did Vincent Smith fall overboard from a container ship near the coast of Mauritania, fathoms away from her former life as Jonathan Alkaitis' pretend trophy wife? In this long-anticipated follow-up to Station Eleven (2014), Mandel uses Vincent's disappearance to pick through the wreckage of Alkaitis' fraudulent investment scheme, which ripples through hundreds of lives. There's Paul, Vincent's half brother, a composer and addict in recovery; Olivia, an octogenarian painter who invested her retirement savings in Alkaitis' funds; Leon, a former consultant for a shipping company; and a chorus of office workers who enabled Alkaitis and are terrified of facing the consequences. Slowly, Mandel reveals how her characters struggle to align their stations in life with their visions for what they could be. For Vincent, the promise of transformation comes when she's offered a stint with Alkaitis in "the kingdom of money." Here, the rules of reality are different and time expands, allowing her to pursue video art others find pointless. For Alkaitis, reality itself is too much to bear. In his jail cell, he is confronted by the ghosts of his victims and escapes into "the counterlife," a soothing alternate reality in which he avoided punishment. It's in these dreamy sections that Mandel's ideas about guilt and responsibility, wealth and comfort, the real and the imagined, begin to cohere. At its heart, this is a ghost story in which every boundary is blurred, from the moral to the physical. How far will Alkaitis go to deny responsibility for his actions? And how quickly will his wealth corrupt the ambitions of those in proximity to it? In luminous prose, Mandel shows how easy it is to become caught in a web of unintended consequences and how disastrous it can be when such fragile bonds shatter under pressure.

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-52114-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

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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