A certain someone is surely spinning, as they say, in his grave.


Morrison lives, more or less, in this first novel by the Doors co-founder and keyboardist.

Roy, a married man living in Los Angeles, receives a letter postmarked from the Seychelles Islands. He believes that the sender is Jordan, the former lead singer-lyricist for their old band, long thought dead from heart failure. Roy gets on a flight to the Islands, and, on the way, reminisces about the formation and commercial success of the unnamed band, and mostly about “the Poet,” as he usually refers to the lead singer, a charismatically masculine man with a bent for mysticism and alcohol. The Poet, it turns out, is indeed alive, and he and Roy are reunited. Long, rambling discussions follow as the Poet explains the circumstances behind his “death,” new life, and what he’s been up to all this time. It’s as you’d expect: tears of despair on the sandy shore, baptismal dips into Mother Ocean, and ultimately a trip to India, where the Poet explored Hindu and Buddhist thought. He went on a foothills-of-the-Himalaya quest to a village called Rishikesh, where “an angel,” a ten-year-old boy in a Led Zeppelin T-shirt, leads him to the ashram Sivananda. By the end of a recital that would have put any character except Roy to sleep, the Poet feels capable of returning to America and reuniting with his old band for a farewell tour. Fate, however, has other plans. This is the sort of story that perhaps only Manzarek would have been compelled to write, and maybe somewhere there’s an audience eager enough for fantasies of Morrison’s continued existence that it can forgive prose like “his chest swelled imperceptibly” and the kind of earnest, soulful stuff that makes most readers turn away in embarrassment.

A certain someone is surely spinning, as they say, in his grave.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2002

ISBN: 1-56025-359-2

Page Count: 224

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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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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Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

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Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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