A heart-wrenching coming-of-age tale in which survival depends more on compassion than rebellion.


Sixteen-year-old Indian-American Deep Singh is at a crossroads. Well, several crossroads, actually.

Can he surrender to his immigrant parents’ wishes, get a good job, submit to an arranged marriage, and watch TV every night? Or will he strike out on his own, escaping the dull, monotonous life they have modeled for him? Why can’t he be more like his cousin Thakurjeet, the perfect Indian son, fluent in both Punjabi and English and dedicated to his Sikh religion? Deep has trouble even staying in class at junior college, succumbing to the temptations of Lily. A 27-year-old married Chinese-American woman, Lily is eager to initiate him into the mysteries of smoking, drinking, and sex. And now his older brother, Jag, has slipped into silence. Sidhu (Good Indian Girls, 2013) writes with keen wit and crafts every character with psychological texture, exploring the effects of racism as well as the desire to control a world spinning off its axis: Lily’s hatred of her mother’s prostitution pushes her into an abusive marriage and playing frightening road games targeting other Chinese-Americans. Jag’s designs for a fantastic camera that can capture the blank spaces lurking in the interstices of measured time signal his increasing madness as do his mother’s bright, brave, achingly sad lies about his just needing some rest. Entangled in their messy lives, Deep both resents and loves their weird demands, impositions, and idiosyncrasies. But events careen out of control. Lily turns up with a black eye, Jag stays up all night talking to imaginary people on the phone, and Deep’s love for Lily takes a dark turn. Deep struggles through the final throes of adolescence, scrabbling into the harsh light cast upon sad adult coping strategies of denial, self-hatred, substance abuse, and suicidal behavior.

A heart-wrenching coming-of-age tale in which survival depends more on compassion than rebellion.

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-939419-68-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Unnamed Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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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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This is good Hemingway. It has some of the tenderness of A Farewell to Arms and some of its amazing power to make one feel inside the picture of a nation at war, of the people experiencing war shorn of its glamor, of the emotions that the effects of war — rather than war itself — arouse. But in style and tempo and impact, there is greater resemblance to The Sun Also Rises. Implicit in the characters and the story is the whole tragic lesson of Spain's Civil War, proving ground for today's holocaust, and carrying in its small compass, the contradictions, the human frailties, the heroism and idealism and shortcomings. In retrospect the thread of the story itself is slight. Three days, during which time a young American, a professor who has taken his Sabbatical year from the University of Montana to play his part in the struggle for Loyalist Spain and democracy. He is sent to a guerilla camp of partisans within the Fascist lines to blow up a strategic bridge. His is a complex problem in humanity, a group of undisciplined, unorganized natives, emotionally geared to go their own way, while he has a job that demands unreasoning, unwavering obedience. He falls in love with a lovely refugee girl, escaping the terrors of a fascist imprisonment, and their romance is sharply etched against a gruesome background. It is a searing book; Hemingway has done more to dramatize the Spanish War than any amount of abstract declamation. Yet he has done it through revealing the pettinesses, the indignities, the jealousies, the cruelties on both sides, never glorifying simply presenting starkly the belief in the principles for which these people fought a hopeless war, to give the rest of the world an interval to prepare. There is something of the implacable logic of Verdun in the telling. It's not a book for the thin-skinned; it has more than its fill of obscenities and the style is clipped and almost too elliptical for clarity at times. But it is a book that repays one for bleak moments of unpleasantness.

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1940

ISBN: 0684803356

Page Count: 484

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1940

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