A rather stale continuation of the engaging love story introduced in Domovitch’s previous novel.


Domovitch’s sequel to Scorpio Rising (2011) continues the love story of Alex and Brigitte, this time in America.

When Alex Ivanov returns to New York from Paris with his new bride, Brigitte, and her young son, David, his ambition and lust for power threaten their happiness. Once a penniless aspiring architect whose job fell victim to the scheming of a fellow employee, Alex begins to find success in real estate development; through his ruthlessness and daring, he soon becomes a wealthy, powerful developer. Realizing that her own promising career as a painter is incompatible with Alex’s ambition to break into high society, Brigitte gives up art and devotes herself to helping her husband, despite his growing aloofness. As the years pass, Alex begins grooming David to become his successor, without consideration for David’s own artistic inclinations and disregard for material wealth. In denial of Alex’s prolific, indiscreet philandering, Brigitte continues to efface herself in service to her husband—to both her and her son’s detriment. Though Alex achieves success beyond most people’s wildest dreams, it never seems to be enough; he begins to overreach, taking on increasingly risky projects that threaten to bankrupt his company. While Alex deals with a personal tragedy and an increasingly fractured marriage, the company’s precarious position is threatened even further. Alex now stands to lose everything, even his family. Unfortunately, the sequel is weaker than the original title. Alex’s megalomania and Brigitte’s rejection of her own goals are rendered too simplistically to be compelling. David is hardly developed as a character, despite his importance to the plot. Brigitte’s passivity throughout the novel comes as a disappointment; she’s much less dynamic than she was in the first book, so the deterioration of her marriage is less affecting than it could have been. Alex’s seamless rise from poverty to social prominence strains credibility at times, and the depiction of his business dealings is rather unsophisticated. One problem may be that the novel spans more years than its predecessor, whereby few events or emotional developments are explored in enough detail to provide the depth that could save the plot from cliché.

A rather stale continuation of the engaging love story introduced in Domovitch’s previous novel.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-1466242340

Page Count: 328

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2012

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

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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

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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