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THE DEPTHS

This tense, haunting tale gives readers front-row seats to the protagonist’s torment.

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Armed strangers kidnap a vacationing couple in Kjeldsen’s (Land of Hidden Fires, 2017, etc.) taut thriller.

After three miscarriages, Marah Lenaerts has been sinking into depression. She’s an American expat who’s been living overseas for years with her trader husband, Eden, a Belgian currently based in Shanghai. Eden has been distancing himself from Marah, but he suggests they take a Malaysian getaway, and Marah reluctantly agrees. This decision may not bode well for her neuroses. Scuba diving is on the itinerary, and it triggers her terror of sea creatures. But the couple seems to grow closer, and Marah’s anxiety eases. This quickly changes when Eden and Marah are accosted by men brandishing M16s. Although the aggressors’ English is limited, it’s abundantly clear that they’re kidnapping the couple. What’s less clear, at least initially, is who their captors are and what exactly they want. Marah has always looked to Eden for a sense of safety and protection. But with her husband just as helpless as she is, she will have to find her own strength. Kjeldsen’s short novel moves at a blistering pace, putting Marah through one ordeal after another. The protagonist’s mass of trepidations amplifies the tension; even breaks from the captors’ threats, for example, are wrought with inner turmoil, including a fear that Eden will attempt escape without her. Sharp, concise writing only improves the tale. Furthermore, readers will relate to many of the experiences and, after tiger mosquitoes, sand flies, and other insects leave behind “a tapestry of bites and rashes,” will feel as uncomfortable and itchy as Marah. The kidnappers’ objective does eventually come to light, and though some will guess where the plot is heading, it won’t lessen the impact of the ending or Marah’s harrowing struggle.

This tense, haunting tale gives readers front-row seats to the protagonist’s torment.

Pub Date: May 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9984657-3-9

Page Count: -

Publisher: Grenzland Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2018

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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A LITTLE LIFE

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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