A raucous, entertaining sendup of Madison Avenue’s unique blend of artistic pretension and desperate crassness.

READ REVIEW

A NASTY BUSINESS

Chutzpah trumps talent—and conscience—in this bawdy novel about making it in the world of New York advertising.

Back from Vietnam and a stint in Leavenworth for taking potshots at an officer, aspiring journalist Alex Brody now makes ends meet as a copywriter for a Manhattan ad agency, where his campaign emphasizing a bra’s nipple-showcasing advantages is seen as a stroke of genius. But he’s eclipsed by his Army buddy Lorenzo Moss, a man with a knack for shameless self-promotion who proffers a steel business card so a recipient can’t tear it up. Lorenzo’s best ideas, such as a campaign focused on a beer brand’s flatulence-minimizing advantages, are stolen from others. Alex’s habitual self-sabotage (threatening to shoot an abusive colleague; punching out a mouthy client) gets him fired repeatedly and sends him on a voyage through the Madison Avenue underworld. He finally washes up as the creative director for a floundering agency where he struggles to sell candied matzos to gentiles and Reich beer to Jews. Lorenzo, meanwhile, moves effortlessly upward, going on to more prestigious positions before his disastrous incompetence is revealed; soon enough, he’s ensconced in a penthouse as a publishing mogul and unlikely free-speech martyr. Margalith’s energetic satire gives a lurid, comic edge to Madison Avenue’s cutthroat competition and preening conflation of chintzy commercialism with cultural innovation. At times, the story’s outrageousness is too obvious and verbose (“I believe, Brody, you were telling me to commit an anatomically impossible carnal act on myself”), and Alex’s and Lorenzo’s parallel picaresques have an aimless, episodic feel. But Margalith crafts well-paced, well-observed comic scenes with a cast of Dickensian characters—“He had the lined face of a small pumpkin with wide, bulging, rheumy blue eyes and the moist lips of a child molester”—who simmer in their own booze, sexual loucheness, casual racism, and thwarted, self-pitying aspirations to creative grandeur. The result feels like a three-way collision between Mad Men, The Producers and Animal House, and a hilariously noisy one at that.

A raucous, entertaining sendup of Madison Avenue’s unique blend of artistic pretension and desperate crassness.

Pub Date: June 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1463665852

Page Count: 404

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

GHOSTED

In Walsh’s American debut, a woman desperately tries to find out why the man she spent a whirlwind week with never called.

Sarah has just separated from her American husband and is visiting her hometown in England when she meets Eddie. He’s kind and charming, and although they only spend one week together, she falls in love. When he has to leave for a trip, she knows they’ll keep in touch—they’re already making plans for the rest of their lives. But then Eddie never calls, and Sarah’s increasingly frantic efforts to contact him are fruitless. Is he hurt? Is he dead? As her friends tell her, there’s a far greater likelihood that he’s just blowing her off—she’s been ghosted. After trying to track Eddie down at a football game, Sarah starts to become ashamed of herself—after all, she’s almost 40 years old and she’s essentially stalking a man who never called her. But as Sarah slowly learns, she and Eddie didn’t actually meet randomly—they both have a connection to an accident that happened years ago, and it may have something to do with why he disappeared. The tension quickly amps up as the secrets of Eddie’s and Sarah’s pasts are revealed, and the truth behind their connection is genuinely surprising and heartbreaking. The barriers between Sarah and Eddie seem insurmountable at times, and although their issues are resolved in a tidy manner, the emotions behind their actions are always believable. Walsh has created a deeply moving romance with an intriguing mystery and a touching portrait of grief at its heart.

A romantic, sad, and ultimately hopeful book that’s perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Pub Date: July 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-52277-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE STARLESS SEA

A withdrawn graduate student embarks on an epic quest to restore balance to the world in this long-anticipated follow-up to The Night Circus (2011).

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a typical millennial introvert; he likes video games, escapist reading, and drinking sidecars. But when he recognizes himself in the pages of a mysterious book from the university library, he's unnerved—and determined to uncover the truth. What begins as a journey for answers turns into something much bigger, and Zachary must decide whether to trust the handsome stranger he meets at a highflying literary fundraiser in New York or to retreat back to his thesis and forget the whole affair. In a high-wire feat of metatextual derring-do, Morgenstern weaves Zachary's adventure into a stunning array of linked fables, myths, and origin stories. There are pirates and weary travelers, painters who can see the future, lovers torn asunder, a menacing Owl King, and safe harbors for all the stories of the world, far below the Earth on the golden shores of a Starless Sea. Clocking in at more than 500 pages, the novel requires patience as Morgenstern puts all the pieces in place, but it is exquisitely pleasurable to watch the gears of this epic fantasy turn once they're set in motion. As in The Night Circus, Morgenstern is at her best when she imagines worlds and rooms and parties in vivid detail, right down to the ballroom stairs "festooned with lanterns and garlands of paper dipped in gold" or a cloak carved from ice with "ships and sailors and sea monsters...lost in the drifting snow." This novel is a love letter to readers as much as an invitation: Come and see how much magic is left in the world. Fans of Neil Gaiman and V.E. Schwab, Kelly Link and Susanna Clarke will want to heed the call.

An ambitious and bewitching gem of a book with mystery and passion inscribed on every page.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-385-54121-3

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more