THE LOGOS

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

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. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

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A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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IT STARTS WITH US

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

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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 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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