Next book

EGGS FOR THE AGELESS

A slow-paced yet big-hearted satire.

In this comic fantasy, an aspiring writer accidentally creates a penguin-based religion, setting her at odds with her devout mother, a violent king, and the eccentric pantheon of gods her brainchild threatens to unseat.

On a mostly desert world where the sun no longer sets, a smattering of towns is ruled by a cruel, diseased king who plans to overthrow the Ageless, an immortal but largely absentee assemblage of deities. Since the death of her father in one of King Rulf’s many wars, Zeggara “Egg” East lives under the influence of her mother, the Holy Devoted Sarene, who wishes for her daughter to commit to worshiping the Ageless as she does. But Egg only wishes to be a writer. So Egg’s manuscript, Grand Teachings of the Almighty Penguin, is, naturally, a commentary on religion, where an eternal Penguin arrives in a village to teach the people how to be more “penguiny.” Much to her surprise, the story’s popularity births a new religion, Penguinism, and now a simple mother-daughter conflict threatens to hatch into a holy war. The timing couldn’t be worse for a religious crusade, as the leaders of the Ageless—the God of Creation and Goddess of Order—tell their family in a crystal heaven about their impending divorce and retirement. Equally worrisome, King Rulf has discovered the gods’ lethal seafood allergy, with only the God of Waste Management and the shameless yet sincere Jack-of-12-Trades named Trast to stop him. A fantasy comedy that swims in similarly madcap waters as works by Terry Pratchett and Christopher Moore, Massa’s novel coolly and deftly introduces a farcical setting that reflects the absurdity of today’s world, brimming with commentary on religion, capitalism, and writing. The book likes to play with language and puns, and Egg’s journey pokes fun at writers, readers, publishers, and more, though its appeal reaches far beyond wordsmiths and satirists. Unfortunately, the tale’s pacing could most fittingly be described as a waddle, its length making clever ideas like the Ageless’ seafood allergy and the Penguinists’ evolving and eclectic religious practices eventually grow tiresome. The author restates plot elements and Egg’s odyssey to keep the story moving. This distracts somewhat from one of the tale’s most intriguing themes: that moments of real kindness and connection between characters come not from humor, but rather the unexpected sharing of tragedy.

A slow-paced yet big-hearted satire.

Pub Date: May 16, 2022

ISBN: 979-8825594620

Page Count: 486

Publisher: Independently Published

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2022

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 113


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 113


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

LONG ISLAND

A moving portrait of rueful middle age and the failure to connect.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

An acclaimed novelist revisits the central characters of his best-known work.

At the end of Brooklyn (2009), Eilis Lacey departed Ireland for the second and final time—headed back to New York and the Italian American husband she had secretly married after first traveling there for work. In her hometown of Enniscorthy, she left behind Jim Farrell, a young man she’d fallen in love with during her visit, and the inevitable gossip about her conduct. Tóibín’s 11th novel introduces readers to Eilis 20 years later, in 1976, still married to Tony Fiorello and living in the titular suburbia with their two teenage children. But Eilis’ seemingly placid existence is disturbed when a stranger confronts her, accusing Tony of having an affair with his wife—now pregnant—and threatening to leave the baby on their doorstep. “She’d known men like this in Ireland,” Tóibín writes. “Should one of them discover that their wife had been unfaithful and was pregnant as a result, they would not have the baby in the house.” This shock sends Eilis back to Enniscorthy for a visit—or perhaps a longer stay. (Eilis’ motives are as inscrutable as ever, even to herself.) She finds the never-married Jim managing his late father’s pub; unbeknownst to Eilis (and the town), he’s become involved with her widowed friend Nancy, who struggles to maintain the family chip shop. Eilis herself appears different to her old friends: “Something had happened to her in America,” Nancy concludes. Although the novel begins with a soap-operatic confrontation—and ends with a dramatic denouement, as Eilis’ fate is determined in a plot twist worthy of Edith Wharton—the author is a master of quiet, restrained prose, calmly observing the mores and mindsets of provincial Ireland, not much changed from the 1950s.

A moving portrait of rueful middle age and the failure to connect.

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781476785110

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

Close Quickview