A lively, suggestive and significant novel about a unique woman seeking to help others.

Standards for Psychic Integration Presents The Journal of Marie Sands

A woman puts her unusual psychic talents to use in this debut sci-fi novel.

Marie Sands is a woman who lives her life in two deeply divergent ways: She’s both an average, logical person who goes about her everyday business, and a psychic savant whose endowed faculties allow her to pick up the emotional energies of the people around her. They also let her communicate with the dying—often when they’re incapable of physical speech—and guide them through the sometimes agonizing processes of death. When she encounters National Security Agency operative Ed Ricks on an airplane, however, she’s finally able to confirm her sense that someone, or some institution, has been tracking her. Ricks has sought Sands out in order to secure her involvement in a newly formed government entity called Standards for Psychic Integration, charged with the task of assimilating practicing psychics into the U.S. government’s new system of nationalized medicine. Although Sands is thoroughly hesitant at first, she eventually negotiates the terms of a contract with Ricks and his superior, NSA director Michael Tipper, which will allow her journals to be published as a public resource. More than half the novel consists of these journal entries, which are brought into the story as Tipper reads them himself. They’re also revealed in a metafictional manner, as author Bateman combines her own personal, real-life journals with the fictional world of Marie Sands. The resulting first-person descriptions of life as a psychic are emotionally sophisticated as well as provocative. In a distinctly human manner, they raise a number of questions about social responsibility, empathy and how to come to terms with mortality. It’s written in clean, unpretentious prose throughout (“The world of psychic phenomenon is alive and has more avenues than anyone can imagine”), although the pace does slow at times. Overall, however, Bateman accomplishes this curious, engaging combination of the real and the fictional with nuanced sensitivity, and it makes for a unique read.

A lively, suggestive and significant novel about a unique woman seeking to help others.

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1453588789

Page Count: 362

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2014

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

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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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