An enjoyable love story that explores family, self-discovery, and the ties between personal and professional success.



An American expatriate connects with a girl from the streets while living in India.

In this novel, Breece (Finding This Place, 2009) draws on her own experiences as a globe-trotting executive in creating the character of Claire Kaine. Claire moves to India in 1995 to build one of the first call centers in that nation, “a telecom system that will revolutionize communications in Mumbai.” As Claire finds her way around Mumbai, she encounters a group of street children and forms a bond with one, a 3-year-old who answers to Shakti. The broadly focused narrative moves between Claire’s story and those of Shakti, whose father abandoned her once a son was born, and her protector, Radeeka, who started living on the streets after her parents’ deaths. Claire—with the help of her boyfriend, Keir Keefe, a doctor and fellow expatriate—gets more closely involved with the two girls and ends up rescuing them from street life and learning where they came from. Radeeka is returned to the couple her parents chose as her guardians, and Shakti lives in a school community until Claire is able to adopt her. Claire also goes through a spiritual awakening as she gets to know India and comes to terms with the loss of a daughter many years earlier. The new blended family that Keir and Claire create provides additional happiness. Minor but frequent typos and errors (for example, “radiate” instead of radiant; “Ganeash” instead of Ganesha) detract somewhat from the generally strong and straightforward writing. But Breece presents a detailed portrait of India from a Westerner’s perspective (“The mass of humanity teeming beyond the hotel entrance, a cacophony of horns blaring in the intense dusty heat, buses, taxis, scooters, trucks, auto rickshaws, and men shouting behind ox carts”), emphasizing the striking aspects of the colorful setting. The result is an engaging and uplifting tale of family, identity, and place.

An enjoyable love story that explores family, self-discovery, and the ties between personal and professional success.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-944887-16-2

Page Count: 222

Publisher: Publishing Partners

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2018

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A strange, subtle, and haunting novel.

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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

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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

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