A lyrical exploration of memory, grief and choice.

THE LADY OF THE HOUSE

In Elberfeld’s debut novel, a newly widowed, 50-ish woman looks back at significant moments in her life, reflected through the prism of memory and dream.

As this pared-down novel begins, Annie, 52, has just returned from her husband Pearce’s funeral, facing an empty apartment and her memories. Disjointed thoughts of the past keep arising—not of Pearce, but of Danny, the boy she first loved. If she can get these thoughts “to click into place, they would reveal their secret to her….Why, why had she left Danny behind?” Through reverie and dreams, Annie pieces together the significant moments of her childhood: first meeting Danny, her mean-spirited grandmother, her mother’s early death, Danny’s proposal and why she turned him down. Through this process, Annie finds the strength she needs within herself. In her debut, Elberfeld confers a sense of ominous significance to small events, as memories often turn to dreams or nightmares. A dutiful childhood visit to an old lady in her stuffy parlor, for example, slides into a bad dream: “And the door on the parakeet cage clanged shut and Annie was in the cage and the bird smell and the old-lady smell filled her nostrils like powder and her windpipe closed in.” In evocative, poetic language, Elberfeld captures the evanescence of youth: “[P]ressed between Danny’s body and the body of his truck, Annie stood in the moonless night with the crickets zigzagging in her ears and heart and drank as if she stood at the fountain of life.” Annie’s story is, however, rather slight to bear all the weight of this significance. Her husband was dear and sweet; if he valued security over excitement, how could he live up to her memory of Danny, unchallenged by any of the real cares of adulthood? And while Annie remains convinced that the central issue was her lack of faith in Danny, it’s her inability to stand up for herself that’s most prominent.

A lyrical exploration of memory, grief and choice.

Pub Date: March 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56474-538-5

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Daniel & Daniel Publishers

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

SHOW TRIALS

HOW PROPERTY GETS MORE LEGAL PROTECTION THAN PEOPLE IN OUR FAILED IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

A highly organized, informative discussion of the immigration system in the United States.

In this politically charged environment, Afrasiabi manages to broach the volatile issue of immigration in a well-rounded, surprisingly effective framework that combines case studies, historical research, statistical analysis and personal anecdotes to detail the current issues and propose solutions. Invocations of Kafka, “The Twilight Zone” and “Alice in Wonderland” prove warranted as illustrations of the often surreal circumstances that confront immigrants facing deportation. Immigrants usually lack access to quality legal representation, while their situation can be made doubly difficult due to language barriers and significant cultural differences. Afrasiabi incorporates his work with colleagues and students at the Chapman University School of Law to deftly weave together the facts of several compelling cases and their underlying legal issues, with a genuine sense of suspense as readers wonder if justice will be truly be served. Occasionally, though, the narrative becomes overwrought—two federal laws passed in 1996 are “dark storm clouds depositing their sleet”—although, considering the life-changing effects of court decisions, it’s difficult to overstate the ramifications: extralegal rendition of individuals with pending cases and the de facto deportation of native-born children whose parents are deported. Afrasiabi also addresses the legacy of various anti-alien laws in California, as well as marriage equality for same-sex couples when one partner is a noncitizen. As the subtitle asserts, Afrasiabi employs his additional experience in the field of property law to contrast the stark differences between immigration judges and constitutional judges, like their qualifications, vetting processes and even the oaths they take. His arguments culminate in seven concrete reforms proposed in the conclusion. In order to make the immigration system more just and effective, Afrasiabi claims the solutions are closer than we may think; we can implement procedures and safeguards already in place within the constitutional courts.

A persuasive, valuable addition to the ongoing immigration reform debate.

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 249

Publisher: Kurti Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

NO REMORSE

Walkley pits CIA agents against a maniacal Saudi prince intent on starting World War III in this debut thriller.

Delta Force operative Lee McCloud, aka Mac, finds himself in Mexico, trying to rescue two teenage girls kidnapped by a drug cartel. But things go from bad to worse when the villains don’t play by the rules. Framed for two murders he didn’t commit, Mac has two options: go to prison or go to work for a CIA black-op group run by the devious Wisebaum, who hacks into terrorists’ bank accounts and confiscates millions of dollars. However, there’s more going on than meets the eye; Saudi Prince Khalid is in possession of nuclear canisters, with which he hopes to alter world history. Khalid also dabbles in trafficking young women, and harvesting and selling human organs. When Wisebaum’s black-op team targets Khalid’s father, the action becomes even more intense. With so many interweaving subplots—kidnapped girls, Israeli undercover agents, nuclear weapons and a secret underwater hideout—it could be easy to lose track of what’s going on. But the author’s deft handling of the material ensures that doesn’t occur; subplots are introduced at the appropriate junctures and, by story’s end, all are accounted for and neatly concluded. Mac is portrayed as a rough and ready action-hero, yet his vulnerabilities will evoke empathy in readers. He finds a love interest in Tally, a hacker whose personality is just quirky enough to complement his own. All Walkley’s primary characters are fleshed out and realistic, with the exception of Wisebaum—a malicious, double-dealing, back-stabber of the worst ilk; the reader is left wondering about Wisebaum’s motivations behind such blatant treachery.

Despite this, Walkley’s beefy prose and rousing action sequences deliver a thriller to satisfy any adrenaline addict.

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0980806601

Page Count: 412

Publisher: Marq Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2012

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