by Nick Tosches ‧ RELEASE DATE: Dec. 4, 2012
Grim, oversexed, arrogant, intense—Tosches’ protagonist has dumped out his id for all to see, narrative integrity be damned.
The longtime chronicler of pop music's shadowy corners explores New York's dark side in this rambling, at times grotesque tale.
The narrator of Tosches' fourth novel (In the Hand of Dante, 2002, etc.), like the author himself, is an aging author named Nick with an abiding love for art and music. (Rock icons Keith Richards and Peter Wolf have brief cameos.) But likening the novel's Nick too much to the author Tosches would be pushing it, or at least the reader would hope: Our hero is a sexual reprobate prone to racist utterances who’s consumed with an unseemly fetish for women's blood, and in his obsessive fog he may have wound up committing murder. The two main relationships in his life are at least consensual: He picks up one woman in a bar during an attempt to quit drinking, while another woman is a young S&M enthusiast who haunts the same AA meetings he does. The transgressive sex scenes owe a good deal to Dennis Cooper, who's long reveled in this material, but while Tosches intentionally pushes the boundaries of good taste—provocateurs like Hubert Selby Jr. and Charles Bukowski are other obvious touchstones—it's the looseness of the narrative that's more exhausting. Nick is prone to longueurs on getting sober (he spends a good deal of time locating a drug that allegedly cures alcoholism), sex, Greek and Latin etymology, Manhattan gentrification and the fate of the publishing industry. The plot between the riffs is sketchy at best, though Tosches' streetwise-professor tone keeps the book from derailing entirely, and Nick's confrontation with the devil of the title is an entertainingly blackhearted look at one man's narcissism.Grim, oversexed, arrogant, intense—Tosches’ protagonist has dumped out his id for all to see, narrative integrity be damned.
Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2012
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2012
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012
Share your opinion of this book
by Sally Rooney ‧ RELEASE DATE: April 16, 2019
Absolutely enthralling. Read it.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2019
New York Times Bestseller
A young Irish couple gets together, splits up, gets together, splits up—sorry, can't tell you how it ends!
Irish writer Rooney has made a trans-Atlantic splash since publishing her first novel, Conversations With Friends, in 2017. Her second has already won the Costa Novel Award, among other honors, since it was published in Ireland and Britain last year. In outline it's a simple story, but Rooney tells it with bravura intelligence, wit, and delicacy. Connell Waldron and Marianne Sheridan are classmates in the small Irish town of Carricklea, where his mother works for her family as a cleaner. It's 2011, after the financial crisis, which hovers around the edges of the book like a ghost. Connell is popular in school, good at soccer, and nice; Marianne is strange and friendless. They're the smartest kids in their class, and they forge an intimacy when Connell picks his mother up from Marianne's house. Soon they're having sex, but Connell doesn't want anyone to know and Marianne doesn't mind; either she really doesn't care, or it's all she thinks she deserves. Or both. Though one time when she's forced into a social situation with some of their classmates, she briefly fantasizes about what would happen if she revealed their connection: "How much terrifying and bewildering status would accrue to her in this one moment, how destabilising it would be, how destructive." When they both move to Dublin for Trinity College, their positions are swapped: Marianne now seems electric and in-demand while Connell feels adrift in this unfamiliar environment. Rooney's genius lies in her ability to track her characters' subtle shifts in power, both within themselves and in relation to each other, and the ways they do and don't know each other; they both feel most like themselves when they're together, but they still have disastrous failures of communication. "Sorry about last night," Marianne says to Connell in February 2012. Then Rooney elaborates: "She tries to pronounce this in a way that communicates several things: apology, painful embarrassment, some additional pained embarrassment that serves to ironise and dilute the painful kind, a sense that she knows she will be forgiven or is already, a desire not to 'make a big deal.' " Then: "Forget about it, he says." Rooney precisely articulates everything that's going on below the surface; there's humor and insight here as well as the pleasure of getting to know two prickly, complicated people as they try to figure out who they are and who they want to become.Absolutely enthralling. Read it.
Pub Date: April 16, 2019
Page Count: 288
Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019
Share your opinion of this book
More About This Book
BOOK TO SCREEN
by Mark Z. Danielewski ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 6, 2000
The story's very ambiguity steadily feeds its mysteriousness and power, and Danielewski's mastery of postmodernist and...
An amazingly intricate and ambitious first novel - ten years in the making - that puts an engrossing new spin on the traditional haunted-house tale.
Texts within texts, preceded by intriguing introductory material and followed by 150 pages of appendices and related "documents" and photographs, tell the story of a mysterious old house in a Virginia suburb inhabited by esteemed photographer-filmmaker Will Navidson, his companion Karen Green (an ex-fashion model), and their young children Daisy and Chad. The record of their experiences therein is preserved in Will's film The Davidson Record - which is the subject of an unpublished manuscript left behind by a (possibly insane) old man, Frank Zampano - which falls into the possession of Johnny Truant, a drifter who has survived an abusive childhood and the perverse possessiveness of his mad mother (who is institutionalized). As Johnny reads Zampano's manuscript, he adds his own (autobiographical) annotations to the scholarly ones that already adorn and clutter the text (a trick perhaps influenced by David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest) - and begins experiencing panic attacks and episodes of disorientation that echo with ominous precision the content of Davidson's film (their house's interior proves, "impossibly," to be larger than its exterior; previously unnoticed doors and corridors extend inward inexplicably, and swallow up or traumatize all who dare to "explore" their recesses). Danielewski skillfully manipulates the reader's expectations and fears, employing ingeniously skewed typography, and throwing out hints that the house's apparent malevolence may be related to the history of the Jamestown colony, or to Davidson's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a dying Vietnamese child stalked by a waiting vulture. Or, as "some critics [have suggested,] the house's mutations reflect the psychology of anyone who enters it."The story's very ambiguity steadily feeds its mysteriousness and power, and Danielewski's mastery of postmodernist and cinema-derived rhetoric up the ante continuously, and stunningly. One of the most impressive excursions into the supernatural in many a year.
Pub Date: March 6, 2000
Page Count: 704
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2000
Share your opinion of this book
Hey there, book lover.
We’re glad you found a book that interests you!