Like many impressive zombie narratives, this tale wrestles with humans’ deeper connection to the undead.

MOJO RISING

THE SAGA OF TRIO DE DIO

This horror novel sees a trio of friends embark on a road trip during a zombie apocalypse.

In Tucson, Arizona, Desré Dupuy is an Air Force veteran in love with Blake Edwards, a musicology student. Blake’s best friend, Granville Preston Gordon, is a former Navy MP, and together they form the Trio de Dio. They share a weekly movie night featuring zombie flicks. Though Gran asserts that “all of life is in those movies,” Des is sick of the cheesy Hollywood productions. She convinces her friends to celebrate the birthday of Marie Laveaux, a 19th-century Condomblé priestess and Acadian heroine. They create an altar, burn their troubles (like Blake’s eviction notice) in an abalone shell, and dance to banda music. Despite being enlightened, Gran insists that a zombie apocalypse is near because he dreamed it—and his dreams always come true. The next morning, a horrible stench assaults the Trio. Outside the crummy apartment complex, the dead have indeed risen. So begins the Trio’s journey, taking them through Texas and Louisiana and toward Des’ relatives in South Carolina, who live on the “Fish-Camp” reservation. Along the way, natural disasters strike and new friends pop up. In this series opener, Curaçao (Walker, 2018), Edwards (Strange Diary Days, 2018), and debut author Kalkwarf enter the well-trod genre with narrative guns blazing. They give longtime fans exactly what they crave with descriptions like “part of her face was gone, blown away, from the looks of it,” and “all her internal organs were missing. It was just a body cavity…spine showing through.” The overall tone is light, sharpened with self-awareness, as in the line “A fire axe, just waiting there for me like it had been drawn in by some supernatural narrator.” Sometimes the tendency to tell rather than show infects the proceedings, as with a rant about Des’ awful neighbor, Dino. But the theme that family is important—and that all humans are related—is an excellent one. The notion that zombies represent a modern-day Ragnarok, humanity’s natural end, is as captivating as it is terrifying.

Like many impressive zombie narratives, this tale wrestles with humans’ deeper connection to the undead.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-5255-4540-5

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Bothsams Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

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

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A LITTLE LIFE

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. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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