A must for World War II buffs and fans of sharp, boundary-busting female characters.

READ REVIEW

THE RACE FOR PARIS

Clayton (The Wednesday Daughters, 2013, etc.) explores the lives of two courageous women—journalists who set out to document Paris’ liberation from the Nazis in 1944 (and find themselves ensconced in a bit of a love triangle in the process).

The narrator, Jane Tyler, meets Olivia “Liv” Harper in a French field hospital in June 1944. Tyler’s a reporter with a Nashville newspaper; Harper’s a photographer with the Associated Press. They're both there to cover the war, but they're frustrated by the sexist barriers they continually find themselves up against; at the time, journalism was a boys’ club, and the military restricted what female correspondents could cover. After Liv realizes that the only way she’ll get to chronicle the kind of gritty, true-life stories she’s hungry for is by heading directly to the front lines, she decides to abandon her dismissive male commanding officer and go AWOL on a mission to still-occupied Paris. Also looking for a career coup, Jane joins her, guided not only by a desire to break some news, but to do it as long before her male competitors as possible. (Yes, Clayton infuses the story with an appealing whiff of go-get-’em girl power.) Along the way, Liv and Jane meet Fletcher Roebuck, a charming English photojournalist who accompanies them on their dangerous mission, and tangled emotions are understandably heightened by both the trio’s forced closeness and the wartime challenges they must stare down together. Clayton’s most ambitious undertaking to date may be fiction, but it’s impeccably researched, offering a striking glimpse into what life was like for the predecessors of some of today’s most famous female journalists.

A must for World War II buffs and fans of sharp, boundary-busting female characters.

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-235463-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE VANISHING HALF

Inseparable identical twin sisters ditch home together, and then one decides to vanish.

The talented Bennett fuels her fiction with secrets—first in her lauded debut, The Mothers (2016), and now in the assured and magnetic story of the Vignes sisters, light-skinned women parked on opposite sides of the color line. Desiree, the “fidgety twin,” and Stella, “a smart, careful girl,” make their break from stultifying rural Mallard, Louisiana, becoming 16-year-old runaways in 1954 New Orleans. The novel opens 14 years later as Desiree, fleeing a violent marriage in D.C., returns home with a different relative: her 8-year-old daughter, Jude. The gossips are agog: “In Mallard, nobody married dark....Marrying a dark man and dragging his blueblack child all over town was one step too far.” Desiree's decision seals Jude’s misery in this “colorstruck” place and propels a new generation of flight: Jude escapes on a track scholarship to UCLA. Tending bar as a side job in Beverly Hills, she catches a glimpse of her mother’s doppelgänger. Stella, ensconced in white society, is shedding her fur coat. Jude, so black that strangers routinely stare, is unrecognizable to her aunt. All this is expertly paced, unfurling before the book is half finished; a reader can guess what is coming. Bennett is deeply engaged in the unknowability of other people and the scourge of colorism. The scene in which Stella adopts her white persona is a tour de force of doubling and confusion. It calls up Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, the book's 50-year-old antecedent. Bennett's novel plays with its characters' nagging feelings of being incomplete—for the twins without each other; for Jude’s boyfriend, Reese, who is trans and seeks surgery; for their friend Barry, who performs in drag as Bianca. Bennett keeps all these plot threads thrumming and her social commentary crisp. In the second half, Jude spars with her cousin Kennedy, Stella's daughter, a spoiled actress.

Kin “[find] each other’s lives inscrutable” in this rich, sharp story about the way identity is formed.

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53629-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more