An engaging, modern-day Faust for brainy rockers.

Quantum Demonology

A NOVEL

In Eggenberger’s debut novel, an aging heavy-metal music fan and aspiring writer sells her soul to the devil and finds there’s a lot more to life than good and evil.

The novel’s unnamed, Scandinavian narrator has long enjoyed the freedom of being an unattached, self-described “nympho slut” and “metalhead.” However, she struggles to find time to write between shifts at her day job, and as she approaches her 47th birthday, she begins to worry that her writing career may never take off the way she’d planned and that her steady stream of young one-night stands may soon dry up. One day, as she steals a few hours to write in a Copenhagen coffee shop, a dead ringer for her favorite metal musician approaches her. She recognizes him, not as the rock icon he resembles, but as the devil himself. He offers her the promise of the writing career—and love life—she’s always dreamed of in exchange for her soul, but she’s reluctant. The devil is not accustomed to hearing “no,” and so he instead persuades her to help him destroy his wife, the biblical Lilith, before she destroys the world. As the tough-as-nails narrator’s sultry romance with the devil begins and her writing career skyrockets toward celebrity status, she finds that the real world is a lot more nuanced than the one purported by so-called moralists. The novel has distinct, well-developed feminist undertones and proves to be about much more than a powerful woman destroying another powerful woman. Fans of the long-esteemed feminist heroine Lilith may be disappointed to see her as the villain here, but she proves to be an antagonist of Maleficent-esque proportions, and readers may be torn between fearing and loving her character. Feminist readers may also be pleased to see that the tomboy narrator ultimately finds camaraderie with a well-researched group of legendary women, including the Norse goddess, Freya, and her handmaiden Fulla.

An engaging, modern-day Faust for brainy rockers.

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9911059-0-8

Page Count: 610

Publisher: Nigel's Flight

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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LAST ORDERS

Britisher Swift's sixth novel (Ever After, 1992 etc.) and fourth to appear here is a slow-to-start but then captivating tale of English working-class families in the four decades following WW II. When Jack Dodds dies suddenly of cancer after years of running a butcher shop in London, he leaves a strange request—namely, that his ashes be scattered off Margate pier into the sea. And who could better be suited to fulfill this wish than his three oldest drinking buddies—insurance man Ray, vegetable seller Lenny, and undertaker Vic, all of whom, like Jack himself, fought also as soldiers or sailors in the long-ago world war. Swift's narrative start, with its potential for the melodramatic, is developed instead with an economy, heart, and eye that release (through the characters' own voices, one after another) the story's humanity and depth instead of its schmaltz. The jokes may be weak and self- conscious when the three old friends meet at their local pub in the company of the urn holding Jack's ashes; but once the group gets on the road, in an expensive car driven by Jack's adoptive son, Vince, the story starts gradually to move forward, cohere, and deepen. The reader learns in time why it is that no wife comes along, why three marriages out of three broke apart, and why Vince always hated his stepfather Jack and still does—or so he thinks. There will be stories of innocent youth, suffering wives, early loves, lost daughters, secret affairs, and old antagonisms—including a fistfight over the dead on an English hilltop, and a strewing of Jack's ashes into roiling seawaves that will draw up feelings perhaps unexpectedly strong. Without affectation, Swift listens closely to the lives that are his subject and creates a songbook of voices part lyric, part epic, part working-class social realism—with, in all, the ring to it of the honest, human, and true.

Pub Date: April 5, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-41224-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1996

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A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy,...

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME

Britisher Haddon debuts in the adult novel with the bittersweet tale of a 15-year-old autistic who’s also a math genius.

Christopher Boone has had some bad knocks: his mother has died (well, she went to the hospital and never came back), and soon after he found a neighbor’s dog on the front lawn, slain by a garden fork stuck through it. A teacher said that he should write something that he “would like to read himself”—and so he embarks on this book, a murder mystery that will reveal who killed Mrs. Shears’s dog. First off, though, is a night in jail for hitting the policeman who questions him about the dog (the cop made the mistake of grabbing the boy by the arm when he can’t stand to be touched—any more than he can stand the colors yellow or brown, or not knowing what’s going to happen next). Christopher’s father bails him out but forbids his doing any more “detecting” about the dog-murder. When Christopher disobeys (and writes about it in his book), a fight ensues and his father confiscates the book. In time, detective-Christopher finds it, along with certain other clues that reveal a very great deal indeed about his mother’s “death,” his father’s own part in it—and the murder of the dog. Calming himself by doing roots, cubes, prime numbers, and math problems in his head, Christopher runs away, braves a train-ride to London, and finds—his mother. How can this be? Read and see. Neither parent, if truth be told, is the least bit prepossessing or more than a cutout. Christopher, though, with pet rat Toby in his pocket and advanced “maths” in his head, is another matter indeed, and readers will cheer when, way precociously, he takes his A-level maths and does brilliantly.

A kind of Holden Caulfield who speaks bravely and winningly from inside the sorrows of autism: wonderful, simple, easy, moving, and likely to be a smash.

Pub Date: June 17, 2003

ISBN: 0-385-50945-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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