Like Old Money (1983), Fosburgh's second novel is another overscaled tale of a troubled daughter's search for the truth about her dead father, this time with an insistently mysterious Indian setting. Twenty years ago, Louis and Thalia Guthrie left their house in Delhi for a fatal car crash many hours away in Agra, leaving their teenaged children Cully and Phoebe to be taken in by American relatives. What were Louis and Thalia doing in Agra? How were their deaths linked to Louis's long-time involvement in smuggling and faking antiquities? And what did Louis's shadowy, powerful confederate, former maharajah Jiggie Deeg, and Jiggie's protÇgÇ Kady Suraj know about his death? Returning to India to determine whether a blond male corpse found outside Delhi might be Cully's, Phoebe finds herself suddenly awash in the mysteries she never faced back then—and such present-day consequences as Cully's inexplicable revulsion from her and her long, unconsummated romance with rising political star Kady, married for years to beautiful, remote Durr, whom Jiggie had gotten pregnant and then settled with Kady. By the final fadeout, Phoebe will have settled the question of Cully's death, resolved her relation with Kady, and heard innumerable revelations about her father—yet Fosburgh decorates her plot with such an ornate narrative manner (flashbacks oscillate unpredictably with present-tense scenes, some recounted by an anonymous friend of Phoebe's, some not) and so many pearls of wisdom from the East (``In India you either have to think deeply or not at all...It unfolds endlessly, and teaches you'') that the whole effect is paradoxically weightless, as if nothing really mattered much after all. Achingly sincere, and heavy with significance—a significance that never takes satisfactory dramatic form.*justify no*

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-517-58493-X

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller


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

Did you like this book?

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


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

Did you like this book?