An uneven post-apocalyptic story that wavers between the usual depictions of survival and horror but doesn’t successfully...


In the aftermath of an abusive marriage, a woman’s search for peace forces her into a primeval new world.

After being shot by her abusive husband, Robert, Sarah Robinson moves to St. Louis with her two daughters, Jazz and Janie. Sarah, who suffers from PTSD, has violent nightmares. Regular meditative sessions with Asha, a Kenyan spiritual teacher, are her only respite. One of these dreamlike sessions leads her to confront the Storm that rages within her, and aided by Asha’s own inner white light, she summons her avatars—the Horse, the Bear, the Elephant, and the Tiger—and contains the maelstrom. Upon awaking, she discovers the Storm was real, claiming not only her teacher, but also buildings, roads, and all other trappings of civilization, replacing it with grassland and non-native flora and fauna. Men, women, and children are left frightened and naked in this new world, yet Sarah finds herself renewed, her animal spirits healing her and giving her supernatural strength and speed. Using survival skills learned from her mother and passed on to her daughters, the trio rallies other survivors into a makeshift “Family” of hunter-gatherers. But not all members of the Family are trustworthy, as Tony, a manipulative misogynist, seeks to become King and force Sarah into submission. Lips’ debut traverses a lot of ground and struggles to find its tone, starting strong with horrific imagery and uneasy suspense then meandering into survivalist tedium. The immediate aftermath of the Storm’s carnage is impressively frightening: The elderly’s pacemakers and prosthetic hips disappear, loved ones in basements are left sealed underground, and twisted bodies line what were once roads after all cars suddenly disappear. But the vigor with which Sarah embraces this new world and the heavy focus on the technical aspects of survival strategies make these early horrors largely forgettable. Magical happenings abound in the novel, and there is a charming whimsy to the way Sarah’s inner creatures become real. But as satisfying as this is, no other characters are explored deeply enough to have similar growth, making them props.

An uneven post-apocalyptic story that wavers between the usual depictions of survival and horror but doesn’t successfully integrate them.

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-9980325-0-4

Page Count: 294

Publisher: Elliptic, LLC

Review Posted Online: April 23, 2019

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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