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Invisible Soft Return

A cerebral work of feminist cyberpunk literature that challenges modern concepts of gender, literacy, privacy, humanity and...

In Degnore’s (Stuck Up, 2012, etc.) sci-fi novel, 33-year-old Evet is accused of murdering her beloved cat and a little girl who may be her daughter.

In a world where computer-simulated experiences called Sims are uploaded directly into one’s brain, people commonly live out their dark fantasies and forbidden urges. However, even the most banal real-world experiences are considered taboo, and murder is unheard of. After Evet is accused of such a violent crime, her friends suggest that perhaps she committed murder by mistake, confusing reality for a Sim. However, Evet is a Sim designer herself, so she’s among the few people in her society who are permitted to engage in real-world experiences. Therefore, she understands the distinction better than most—and she knows she didn’t commit the crime. However, she still grieves over the loss of her cat (who, oddly enough, was also her lover), and over the loss of a daughter she doesn’t remember having—and those memories meld into one. When law enforcement officers detain Evet and torture her by controlling her thoughts, her grip on reality further slips. The lines between individual and collective memory become blurred as she falls in and out of a series of dreams that take her to different points in history. The novel pushes even the most open-minded readers’ boundaries early on, as it opens with a shocking description of a sexual encounter between a woman and a cat. However, in this story, animals also serve as a reminder of how humanity has been lost, absorbed into simulated realities. The author forces readers to suspend their expectations about appropriate relationships and challenges them to abandon comfortably held notions of the nature of reality. This isn’t a casual read and may leave some readers behind, but it has a jarring elegance that may leave a profound impression on those willing to open themselves up to it.

A cerebral work of feminist cyberpunk literature that challenges modern concepts of gender, literacy, privacy, humanity and reality.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615900551

Page Count: 420

Publisher: Digital Fabulists

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2013

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Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

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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