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CATWALK

Outstanding poetic musings that strike at the very core of human connections and contradictions.

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A collection of verse explores the strange contours of modern existence.

This impressive volume presents 79 poems in a wide variety of metrical and spatial forms. Natchez begins with a sense of urgency in “Looseplex: Rescue Mission,” in which a sudden trip to New York City signals trouble ahead. The poem features effective assonance and arresting imagery (“Grief flings its implacable lasso / Off the edge of the world where you will be lost”) before abruptly ending midthought. Later, the author juxtaposes two poems, both named “Full Circle, A Diptych,” that turn out to be hinged, mirror images of each other. The seemingly simple act of flipping them, with lines structured in reverse order, thus creates different perceptions. In “Dawn,” she employs line breaks to slippery effect, investing an everyday occurrence with additional meanings: “The newspaper waits / at the curb / the morning / fears still unwrapped.” Is “morning fears” adjective/noun or noun/verb? And what remains unwrapped: the newspaper, the morning, or both? One presence occupying a large space throughout the entire book belongs to Natchez’s husband of over 40 years. “Two-step, Starting with a Grapefruit” represents the give-and-take nature of their relationship while “Why size has almost nothing to do with it” extols the seductive virtues of voluntarily washing the dishes after a party. Another salient feature of this collection centers on what the author calls “prose poems.” The traditionally punctuated “Why I have a soft spot for bad TV” reads like a microstory and offers a glimpse of her childhood, particularly her relationship with her father, whereas the completely unpunctuated “Being here now” suggests the rush of thoughts while one suffers in traffic. Odes to flatulence and endless chores appear alongside meditations on life and death, harmony and dissonance. “Corporate Ode” gently chides readers for their volatile relationships with consumerism and technology. Although these poems are relatively short, with none extending past two pages, readers will most likely need to pause multiple times and process the flood of associations that Natchez provokes with her masterful control of content and form.

Outstanding poetic musings that strike at the very core of human connections and contradictions.

Pub Date: June 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-578-64422-6

Page Count: 99

Publisher: Longship Press

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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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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