A bold debut filled with unforgettable moments and characters.

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ONCE IN A BLUE YEAR

In this lyrical debut novel, the lives of two U.S. Navy men take dramatic turns after they’re cut from a submarine mission during the Gulf War.

Former submariner Dan has just been honorably discharged from the Navy after damaging his back. His friend and fellow enlistee Nathan wants Dan to stay at his home while he’s in the Mediterranean Sea—during the Gulf War—for six months. Dan agrees because he has nowhere else to go, and he wants to help Nathan’s wife, Heather, with their infant son. Meanwhile, Dan’s former naval bunkmate, Trevor, has been cut from this same mission due to violent, erratic behavior. Attempting to find solace in their lives, Dan takes up photography; Trevor dates the beautiful Tara. Weeks pass, however, and both men have trouble adjusting. Heather, who resents Nathan for volunteering to leave so soon after returning from another mission, is drawn to Dan. Trevor, a brooding man obsessed with physical perfection, struggles with the intimacy that Tara craves. As Heather counts the days of Nathan’s absence on a chalkboard, Dan sets up a darkroom in the basement; he must also decide whether the stability he and Heather need is worth his friendship with Nathan. Debut author Durkota writes a remarkable narrative centered on the afflicted mindsets of his Navy men. With stark poignancy we learn that Trevor “wished he could be as confident around [Tara] as he was on the ship.” Elsewhere, Durkota’s bracing prose conveys Dan’s panic aboard the submarine: “All you can hear is your heart. Blood running scared through your arms and legs. Your mind a grenade.” Thankfully, there are moments of levity, usually involving a sexually overconfident character named Jags. Through Jags, the story also poses some meditative koanlike questions, including, “If you try to fail, and succeed, which have you done?” And while Durkota’s work often feels like a thriller, it’s more of a psychological study in which the characters, like flashes of lightning, are wonderfully alive for a very short time.

A bold debut filled with unforgettable moments and characters.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Rogue13 Publications

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

THE SILENT PATIENT

A woman accused of shooting her husband six times in the face refuses to speak.

"Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband. They had been married for seven years. They were both artists—Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer." Michaelides' debut is narrated in the voice of psychotherapist Theo Faber, who applies for a job at the institution where Alicia is incarcerated because he's fascinated with her case and believes he will be able to get her to talk. The narration of the increasingly unrealistic events that follow is interwoven with excerpts from Alicia's diary. Ah, yes, the old interwoven diary trick. When you read Alicia's diary you'll conclude the woman could well have been a novelist instead of a painter because it contains page after page of detailed dialogue, scenes, and conversations quite unlike those in any journal you've ever seen. " 'What's the matter?' 'I can't talk about it on the phone, I need to see you.' 'It's just—I'm not sure I can make it up to Cambridge at the minute.' 'I'll come to you. This afternoon. Okay?' Something in Paul's voice made me agree without thinking about it. He sounded desperate. 'Okay. Are you sure you can't tell me about it now?' 'I'll see you later.' Paul hung up." Wouldn't all this appear in a diary as "Paul wouldn't tell me what was wrong"? An even more improbable entry is the one that pins the tail on the killer. While much of the book is clumsy, contrived, and silly, it is while reading passages of the diary that one may actually find oneself laughing out loud.

Amateurish, with a twist savvy readers will see coming from a mile away.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-30169-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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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

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