Next book

THE CARICATURIST

A resonant story of art, rebellion, and politics.

An illustrator seeks his fortune on the eve of the Spanish-American War.

Though it opens in 1897, Lock’s new novel feels very relevant in 2024. The narrator, Oliver Fischer, is 20 when the book begins. He’s studying art, to the frustration of his wealthy, bigoted father, who urges him to take up a career in banking instead. Much of Oliver’s time is spent discussing politics and thinking about the nature of art. Painter Thomas Eakins—one of Oliver’s instructors—instructs him to read Stephen Crane’s article “An Experiment in Misery,” an account of living hand to mouth. It’s at this point that Oliver’s life begins to draw closer to Crane’s, with the two men eventually crossing paths in Key West. The story of a young man’s discovery of what is and is not important to him is well handled here, and Lock offers reminders of the more unseemly aspects of this society, from Oliver’s father’s bigotry to a racist attack on a Chinese restaurant. The novel’s description of the unlikely alliances at work in the anti-imperialist movement are intriguing—but it’s Oliver’s voice and the lyricism of his observations that make this novel especially strong. Here’s Oliver exploring a collection of swallowed jacks in the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection at Philadelphia’s Mütter Museum: “Their number testified to the popularity of the schoolyard game and to the appetite of children for the inedible.” Oliver is a wry narrator; he observes that, as tension between the United States and Spain escalates, “the temperature of the nation’s war fever could be told by the number of exclamation marks” in newspaper headlines. In the end, it’s a book haunted by Crane’s literary work and his legacy—to say nothing of the man himself.

A resonant story of art, rebellion, and politics.

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 978-1-954276-27-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Bellevue Literary Press

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 176


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 176


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Next book

THE GOD OF THE WOODS

"Don't go into the woods" takes on unsettling new meaning in Moore's blend of domestic drama and crime novel.

Many years after her older brother, Bear, went missing, Barbara Van Laar vanishes from the same sleepaway camp he did, leading to dark, bitter truths about her wealthy family.

One morning in 1975 at Camp Emerson—an Adirondacks summer camp owned by her family—it's discovered that 13-year-old Barbara isn't in her bed. A problem case whose unhappily married parents disdain her goth appearance and "stormy" temperament, Barbara is secretly known by one bunkmate to have slipped out every night after bedtime. But no one has a clue where's she permanently disappeared to, firing speculation that she was taken by a local serial killer known as Slitter. As Jacob Sluiter, he was convicted of 11 murders in the 1960s and recently broke out of prison. He's the one, people say, who should have been prosecuted for Bear's abduction, not a gardener who was framed. Leave it to the young and unproven assistant investigator, Judy Luptack, to press forward in uncovering the truth, unswayed by her bullying father and male colleagues who question whether women are "cut out for this work." An unsavory group portrait of the Van Laars emerges in which the children's father cruelly abuses their submissive mother, who is so traumatized by the loss of Bear—and the possible role she played in it—that she has no love left for her daughter. Picking up on the themes of families in search of themselves she explored in Long Bright River (2020), Moore draws sympathy to characters who have been subjected to spousal, parental, psychological, and physical abuse. As rich in background detail and secondary mysteries as it is, this ever-expansive, intricate, emotionally engaging novel never seems overplotted. Every piece falls skillfully into place and every character, major and minor, leaves an imprint.

"Don't go into the woods" takes on unsettling new meaning in Moore's blend of domestic drama and crime novel.

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9780593418918

Page Count: 496

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

Close Quickview