Not entirely to contemporary tastes but a valuable addition to modernist European literature.

AGATHE, OR THE FORGOTTEN SISTER

A reconstructed novel that brings a “forgotten sister” to play in a winding narrative.

Now considered a classic of early-20th-century literature, Musil’s The Man Without Qualities (1943) presents a neurasthenic fellow who lives entirely too much inside his own head, a mathematician who is indifferent to bourgeois life but partakes of it all the same. At the start of the present novel, Frankensteined from chapters of the former and bits of the thousands of pages of manuscript Musil left behind, Ulrich is disembarking from a train: “Drops of the general conversation that had seeped into him during the trip were now draining away,” and now, preparing for the funeral of his father—who has helpfully sent notice of his own impending death—he’s left to his own musings. There’s plenty to think about: His long-lost younger sister, Agathe, widowed and remarried, is in town for the occasion, and she announces that she’s leaving her husband, a bore of a pedagogue. “Let him sue!” she says brightly, whereupon Ulrich is moved to remark, in his otherworldly way, “inner oblivion is more loathsome than anything.” In time, Agathe has moved in with Ulrich, and the relationship becomes—well, let’s just say there are universal strictures governing their behavior, which, though more cerebral than physical, in fact does have something of the physical to it “that with great tenderness paralyzed their limbs and at the same time enchanted them with an indescribable sensitivity.” This is very much a European sort of tale, reminiscent of Goethe here and Pessoa there, without much in the way of action but very long on talk—talk of love here, of misunderstanding and grief there: “Someone who talks a lot," says Ulrich, “discharges another person’s grief drop by drop, the way rain discharges the electricity in a cloud.” That, or the chatterbox numbs the listener, which happens from time to time even as Musil carefully structures his twisting, unexpected storyline.

Not entirely to contemporary tastes but a valuable addition to modernist European literature.

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68137-383-6

Page Count: 464

Publisher: New York Review Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable...

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MAYBE SOMEDAY

Sydney and Ridge make beautiful music together in a love triangle written by Hoover (Losing Hope, 2013, etc.), with a link to a digital soundtrack by American Idol contestant Griffin Peterson. 

Hoover is a master at writing scenes from dual perspectives. While music student Sydney is watching her neighbor Ridge play guitar on his balcony across the courtyard, Ridge is watching Sydney’s boyfriend, Hunter, secretly make out with her best friend on her balcony. The two begin a songwriting partnership that grows into something more once Sydney dumps Hunter and decides to crash with Ridge and his two roommates while she gets back on her feet. She finds out after the fact that Ridge already has a long-distance girlfriend, Maggie—and that he's deaf. Ridge’s deafness doesn’t impede their relationship or their music. In fact, it creates opportunities for sexy nonverbal communication and witty text messages: Ridge tenderly washes off a message he wrote on Sydney’s hand in ink, and when Sydney adds a few too many e’s to the word “squee” in her text, Ridge replies, “If those letters really make up a sound, I am so, so glad I can’t hear it.” While they fight their mutual attraction, their hope that “maybe someday” they can be together playfully comes out in their music. Peterson’s eight original songs flesh out Sydney’s lyrics with a good mix of moody musical styles: “Living a Lie” has the drama of a Coldplay piano ballad, while the chorus of “Maybe Someday” marches to the rhythm of the Lumineers. But Ridge’s lingering feelings for Maggie cause heartache for all three of them. Independent Maggie never complains about Ridge’s friendship with Sydney, and it's hard to even want Ridge to leave Maggie when she reveals her devastating secret. But Ridge can’t hide his feelings for Sydney long—and they face their dilemma with refreshing emotional honesty. 

Hoover is one of the freshest voices in new-adult fiction, and her latest resonates with true emotion, unforgettable characters and just the right amount of sexual tension.

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5316-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2014

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The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

REGRETTING YOU

When tragedy strikes, a mother and daughter forge a new life.

Morgan felt obligated to marry her high school sweetheart, Chris, when she got pregnant with their daughter, Clara. But she secretly got along much better with Chris’ thoughtful best friend, Jonah, who was dating her sister, Jenny. Now her life as a stay-at-home parent has left her feeling empty but not ungrateful for what she has. Jonah and Jenny eventually broke up, but years later they had a one-night stand and Jenny got pregnant with their son, Elijah. Now Jonah is back in town, engaged to Jenny, and working at the local high school as Clara’s teacher. Clara dreams of being an actress and has a crush on Miller, who plans to go to film school, but her father doesn't approve. It doesn’t help that Miller already has a jealous girlfriend who stalks him via text from college. But Clara and Morgan’s home life changes radically when Chris and Jenny are killed in an accident, revealing long-buried secrets and forcing Morgan to reevaluate the life she chose when early motherhood forced her hand. Feeling betrayed by the adults in her life, Clara marches forward, acting both responsible and rebellious as she navigates her teenage years without her father and her aunt, while Jonah and Morgan's relationship evolves in the wake of the accident. Front-loaded with drama, the story leaves plenty of room for the mother and daughter to unpack their feelings and decide what’s next.

The emotions run high, the conversations run deep, and the relationships ebb and flow with grace.

Pub Date: Dec. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-1642-1

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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