A wrenching, complex novel that any fantasy fan would do well to pick up.

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Koerber (The Eclipse Dancer, 2018, etc.) offers readers an embittered narrator, a dystopic near future, and an intriguing, nuanced treatment of magic, nature, and justice in this urban-fantasy tale.

Bob Fallon is half-human and “half-forest spirit from the wild hare clan,” and he owns one of the last remaining bits of forested land in northern Wisconsin. It would be easy for him to dismiss humankind entirely—and on some days, that’s exactly what he wants to do. His clan’s mantra of “feed, fuck, fight” has governed a lot of his life, and he can’t help but feel a smoldering rage about the destruction of the forests and other injustices in his surroundings. Koerber’s characterization of Bob is perhaps the book’s strongest element; the protagonist’s jaded, acidic attitude will put readers perfectly into a noirish mindset. At the same time, Bob does a great job of providing context, both for the decaying world he inhabits and for his own limited abilities: “since I’m a fairy, why can’t I fix things?” When Arne, one of his few friends, is jailed for failing to pay speeding tickets, Bob starts raising money for his release, but this is easier said than done, as Bob has spent years avoiding townspeople, doing begrudging odd jobs for them, or outright stealing from them—and the state adds Arne’s room and board to the fine every day. Bob works inside and outside the law as he runs afoul of local militia, a congressman with shady ties, and a host of other fairies, spirits, and tricksters. Overall, the story manages to weave together a complex tapestry of themes, from climate change to poverty to what qualifies as morality in a world that’s facing catastrophe. The prose is clear and concise throughout, giving readers a sense of each scene and character through the protagonist’s eyes.

A wrenching, complex novel that any fantasy fan would do well to pick up.

Pub Date: June 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946044-51-8

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Who Chains You Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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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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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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