A hefty old-school social novel that nearly cracks under its own weight.

THE LOGOS

An artist’s modern-day Faustian bargain, rendered in granular detail.

De Silva’s second novel is narrated by a young New York painter on the rise who, as the (very lengthy) story opens, has recently lost his muse. His nuanced paintings of his now-ex have caught the eyes of wealthy collectors, but though he has acclaim, steady income is lacking. So a patron refers him to Garrett, an entrepreneur with very deep pockets who wants him to sketch ideas for some forthcoming products: glasses, whiskey, and an energy drink. The two subjects he’s assigned to observe for an ad campaign are Daphne, a rising art-film and off-Broadway actor, and Duke, an NFL rookie with massive talent but bad habits and rough friends back on Chicago’s South Side. The narrator puzzles over his new relationships with Garrett, Daphne, and Duke while pondering the Adderall-in-a-bottle qualities of the sports drink; sexual, physical, and existential drama ensues. Between its bulk, sober tone, and big themes, this novel is nakedly bidding to join the company of the postmodern titans who dominated late-20th-century American fiction: Gaddis, Gass, DeLillo, Wallace. And the book is capacious enough to fit some thoughtful philosophizing about the fuzzy line between art and money, what artists owe to the human beings they render (or is it exploit?), and the distinct virtues of writing and visual art. (The title is double-edged, referring to the ancient Greek word for word and ad symbols.) But it also has plodding, stodgy stretches where observations aren’t so much strikingly detailed as they are attenuated. (A passage where the narrator watches one of Duke’s college games runs 20 dense pages.) Tighter editing might have brought both de Silva’s intelligence and the tension of the narrator’s predicaments into sharper relief.

A hefty old-school social novel that nearly cracks under its own weight.

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-955904-22-3

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Clash Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

IT STARTS WITH US

The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

FAIRY TALE

Narnia on the Penobscot: a grand, and naturally strange, entertainment from the ever prolific King.

What’s a person to do when sheltering from Covid? In King’s case, write something to entertain himself while reflecting on what was going on in the world outside—ravaged cities, contentious politics, uncertainty. King’s yarn begins in a world that’s recognizably ours, and with a familiar trope: A young woman, out to buy fried chicken, is mashed by a runaway plumber’s van, sending her husband into an alcoholic tailspin and her son into a preadolescent funk, driven “bugfuck” by a father who “was always trying to apologize.” The son makes good by rescuing an elderly neighbor who’s fallen off a ladder, though he protests that the man’s equally elderly German shepherd, Radar, was the true hero. Whatever the case, Mr. Bowditch has an improbable trove of gold in his Bates Motel of a home, and its origin seems to lie in a shed behind the house, one that Mr. Bowditch warns the boy away from: “ ‘Don’t go in there,’ he said. ‘You may in time, but for now don’t even think of it.’ ” It’s not Pennywise who awaits in the underworld behind the shed door, but there’s plenty that’s weird and unexpected, including a woman, Dora, whose “skin was slate gray and her face was cruelly deformed,” and a whole bunch of people—well, sort of people, anyway—who’d like nothing better than to bring their special brand of evil up to our world’s surface. King’s young protagonist, Charlie Reade, is resourceful beyond his years, but it helps that the old dog gains some of its youthful vigor in the depths below. King delivers a more or less traditional fable that includes a knowing nod: “I think I know what you want,” Charlie tells the reader, "and now you have it”—namely, a happy ending but with a suitably sardonic wink.

A tale that’s at once familiar and full of odd and unexpected twists—vintage King, in other words.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66800-217-9

Page Count: 608

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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