A nasty, freaky, and haphazardly funny horror story.

THE UNNOTICEABLES

A punk-rock vagabond circa 1977 and a struggling Hollywood stuntwoman circa 2013 find themselves connected through a grotesque paranormal underground society.

Whatever those guys are smoking over at Cracked.com is working—this is the fourth good novel from a contributor, following David Wong’s John Dies at the End (2009) and This Book Is Full of Spiders (2012) as well as Wayne Gladstone’s Notes From the Internet Apocalypse (2014). Brockway (Rx: A Tale of Electronegativity, 2013, etc.) takes a less flippant approach to his over-the-top horror show, but humor and verve still bleed through in the voices of his vibrant lead characters. We meet Carey Horton in the beating heart of Manhattan’s punk scene as he and his friends get smashed, thrash their way through concerts, and revel in their squalid DIY existence. But dark forces are awakening in the form of “unnoticeables,” or “empty ones,” which are human shells that now house something…else. “You look for humanity in human-shaped things, and when you don’t find it, your broken, clouded minds just glaze right over it,” one of them tells Carey. “We are like you, but missing your inefficiencies.” He also encounters “tar men,” which are Lovecraft-ian monstrosities with acidic, flammable goo spread over mechanical skeletons. The book leaps between Carey’s youth and the present day, in which we meet Kaitlyn Barr, a cocktail waitress who yearns to become a professional Hollywood stuntwoman. She’s also begun seeing angels, which is making her doubt her sanity. At a party one night, she meets former child star Marco Luis (a thinly veiled doppelgänger of Mario Lopez from Saved by the Bell, which is funny all by itself). When Marco forces a kiss on Kaitlyn, she feels something cold, metallic, and distinctly inhuman slither inside her. Who should rescue her but an aged, alcoholic, and homeless Carey? There’s a lot of cosmic mythology in between about blood rituals and the origins of these surreal angels and demons, but readers will enjoy themselves more if they just kick back and enjoy the wild ride.

A nasty, freaky, and haphazardly funny horror story.

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7653-7966-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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