An imaginative, if rather shallow, rock ‘n’ roll fantasy.

BOLLYWOOD INVASION

Alexanders (The Last Resistance: Dragon Tomb, 2017) tells the story of a teenager who wakes up in an alternate universe and becomes a rock star in this YA novel.

Sixteen-year-old American John Palmieri feels invisible at his Brooklyn, New York, high school—well, except when he’s getting bullied. Then he gets hit by a bus and is suddenly magically transported to 1958 India, where he’s doted upon by servants who call him “Raj Babu.” After getting over the initial shock, he realizes he isn’t too upset about the change of scenery: “Walking onto the balcony, John saw a swimming pool, a tennis court, and a fleet of vintage cars neatly parked to the side of the lawn….By now, he knew his life in Brooklyn was not coming back, yet he felt no real sadness.” At first, “Raj” is happy to smoke weed, have sex, and make predictions about the future, soon earning the affectionate nickname “Babaji” from friends and admirers. When this gets boring, Raj decides to start a band. They’re called the Beetos and play songs with names like “Yesterday” and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” which “Raj” claims to have written. He forsakes his arranged marriage to pursue the girl of his dreams, then sets out to conquer the world while emulating John Lennon (who, of course, no one in this world has yet heard of). Things go pretty great for a time, but then Raj starts to run into some of the same problems that the real Lennon encountered—and others that he never had to contend with. Alexanders’ prose is smooth, although his attempts to render the Indian accent come off as more than a little clumsy: “John attempted an Indian accent this time. ‘I’am taa’king like I aa’lways do,’ he said, shaking his head like a bobblehead.” The overall concept is certainly promising, and the author delivers some details that Beatles fans are likely to appreciate. He also makes a number of surprising, if not always satisfying, decisions regarding the plot; the ending, for instance, essentially negates all that’s come before it.

An imaginative, if rather shallow, rock ‘n’ roll fantasy.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-981590-19-3

Page Count: 334

Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2018

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

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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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

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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