An entertaining romp, even without the raunchy bits.

READ REVIEW

THE GOLDEN ASS

A faithful (if relatively clean) version of the world’s oldest surviving complete novel, written “for librarians, teachers, scholars, and extremely intelligent children,” according to the afterword.

Usher (Wise Guy: The Life and Philosophy of Socrates, 2005) frames his adaptation as a tale within a tale in which the author meets two travelers on the road. He listens as one describes how he was transformed into an ass by reckless use of a stolen magical ointment, is mistreated in turn by robbers, “eunuch priests” (homosexual con men, in the original) and other rough handlers—then transformed at long last into a human boy by the goddess Isis. Though all of the sex and most of the dissolute behavior has been excised, the lad’s first transformation is milked throughout for double entendres—“Oh no!” gasps a witness. “You’ve made an ass of yourself!”—and there are plenty of silly incidents and names (silly in Latin, anyway, like a dopey Centurion dubbed Decius Verissimus Stultus) to lighten the overall tone. Motley’s elaborate illustrated initials and pen-and-ink drawings add satiric bite (“Eat roses from my bosom,” intones Isis mystically, floating over awed worshipers like a divine Vanna White) and further comic elements. So thoroughly reworked that even the original’s most famous imbedded story, “Cupid and Psyche,” is relegated to an appendix, this nonetheless conveys a clear sense of Apuleius’ plot, language and major themes.

An entertaining romp, even without the raunchy bits. (afterword) (Classic. 11-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-56792-418-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Godine

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity.

FUTUREDAZE

AN ANTHOLOGY OF YA SCIENCE FICTION

A low-wattage collection of original stories and poems, as unmemorable as it is unappealingly titled.

The collection was inspired by a perceived paucity of short science fiction for teen readers, and its production costs were covered by a Kickstarter campaign. The editors gather a dozen poems and 21 stories from a stable of contributors who, after headliners Jack McDevitt and Nancy Holder, will be largely unknown even to widely read fans of the genre. The tales place their characters aboard spacecraft or space stations, on other worlds or in future dystopias, but only rarely do the writers capture a credibly adolescent voice or sensibility. Standouts in this department are the Heinlein-esque “The Stars Beneath Our Feet,” by Stephen D. Covey & Sandra McDonald, about a first date/joyride in space gone wrong, and Camille Alexa’s portrait of a teen traumatized by a cyberspace assault (“Over It”). Along with a few attempts to craft futuristic slang, only Lavie Tidhar’s fragmentary tale of Tel Aviv invaded by successive waves of aliens, doppelgangers, zombies and carnivorous plants (“The Myriad Dangers”) effectively lightens the overall earnest tone. Aside from fictional aliens and modified humans, occasional references to dark skin (“Out of the Silent Sea,” Dale Lucas) are the only signs of ethnic diversity. Most of the free-verse poetry makes only oblique, at best, references to science-fictional themes.

A change of pace from the teeming swarms of fantasy and paranormal romance but too underpowered to achieve escape velocity. (author bios) (Science fiction/short stories. 12-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9847824-0-8

Page Count: 290

Publisher: Underwords

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
  • SPONSORED PLACEMENT

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel...

WHAT FLOWERS REMEMBER

Thanks to her love of flowers, Delia has become a sort of apprentice to talented gardener Old Red and is devastated when he begins to show signs of encroaching dementia.

With all of the confidence of youth, she holds in her heart the belief that perhaps with her help—and that of all his loving neighbors—she can preserve his memories by collecting favorite stories about the beloved man. As she moves through the months, she records (in a rather mature first-person) both the tasks she completes in the garden as well as the stories she collects about him, also describing Red’s tragically inexorable decline. Delia’s surrounded by loving adults, and she shares her grief with best friend Mae and new love interest Tommy, as well as receiving support from members of her church; with these relationships, this warm effort neatly captures the strength of a close-knit community and the tight bonds that can form between the very old and the young. The 13-year-old’s often lyrical prose is attractive, even though it sometimes strays toward a more adult-sounding voice. Her frustration, fear and sense of loss will be readily recognizable to others who have experienced dementia in a loved one, and her story may provide some guidance on how to move down that rocky path toward acceptance and letting go.

What do flowers remember? The stories of the people who cared for them, of course, as Wiersbitzky’s sensitive novel compassionately conveys. (Fiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60898-166-3

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Namelos

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more