A gripping story that brings home the point that India may be “the worst place in the world to be a woman.”

READ REVIEW

THE GOOD GIRLS

AN ORDINARY KILLING

A modern-day Rashomon that offers multiple views of the widely publicized deaths of two young women in rural India.

In the summer of 2014, two teenagers, whom Faleiro calls Padma and Lalli, left their homes in the countryside of Uttar Pradesh, walking to a nearby orchard. Not long after, they were found hanging from a tree. An autopsy was inconclusive, but it seemed likely that the girls had been raped. Consequently, the village was swept up in a vortex of contending views on religion, caste, gender roles, women’s rights, and other thorny issues, all cogently explored by the author. The principal suspects were members of a low caste. “Their lives had been dismantled,” writes Faleiro, a sympathetic yet unrelenting investigator. “And not one politician, they said, not even one of their own, had come to see them, never mind offer them assistance of any sort….This is what it meant to be poor.” Other issues were at play, including the fact that the girls had dared use their cellphones in public—an act that proved, according to a society where women are untrustworthy, that they were seeking dangerous liaisons. As Faleiro carefully documents, the disappearance of the girls was not extraordinary: “In the year that Padma and Lalli went missing, 12,361 people were kidnapped and abducted in Uttar Pradesh, accounting for 16 per cent of all such crimes in India.” In a recent case, a wealthy businessman had murdered at least 17 people, some of them children, whose disappearances the police had not paid attention to precisely because they were poor. Padma’s and Lalli’s graves suffered a final indignity during a devastating flood, and while their case seems to resist definitive resolution, it shows that, “for the poor, who have always suffered the most, India hasn’t changed all that much.”

A gripping story that brings home the point that India may be “the worst place in the world to be a woman.”

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8021-5820-8

Page Count: 360

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A thimbleful of fresh content lies buried in tales familiar and often told.

THE LAST DAYS OF JOHN LENNON

Beatlemania meets autopsy in the latest product from the Patterson factory.

The authors take more than half the book to reach John Lennon’s final days, which passed 40 years ago—an anniversary that, one presumes, provides the occasion for it. The narrative opens with killer Mark David Chapman talking to himself: “It’s like I’m invisible.” And how do we know that Chapman thought such a thing? Well, the authors aver, they’re reconstructing the voices in his head and other conversations “based on available third-party sources and interviews.” It’s a dubious exercise, and it doesn’t get better with noir-ish formulas (“His mind is a dangerous neighborhood”) and clunky novelistic stretches (“John Lennon wakes up, reaches for his eyeglasses. At first the day seems like any other until he realizes it’s a special one….He picks up the kitchen phone to greet his old songwriting partner, who’s called to wish him all the best for the record launch”). In the first half of the book, Patterson and company reheat the Beatles’ origin story and its many well-worn tropes, all of which fans already know in detail. Allowing for the internal monologue, things improve somewhat once the narrative approaches Chapman’s deranged act—300-odd pages in, leaving about 50 pages for a swift-moving account of the murder and its aftermath, which ends with Chapman in a maximum-security cell where “he will be protected from the ugliness of the outside world….The cell door slides shut and locks. Mark David Chapman smiles. I’m home.” To their credit, the authors at least don’t blame Lennon’s “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” for egging on the violence that killed him, but this book pales in comparison to Kenneth Womack’s John Lennon 1980 and Philip Norman’s John Lennon: The Life, among many other tomes on the Fab Four.

A thimbleful of fresh content lies buried in tales familiar and often told.

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 7, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A cleareyed, concise look at current and future affairs offering pertinent points to reflect and debate.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

TEN LESSONS FOR A POST-PANDEMIC WORLD

The CNN host and bestselling author delivers a pithy roundup of some of the inevitable global changes that will follow the current pandemic.

Examining issues both obvious and subtler, Zakaria sets out how and why the world has changed forever. The speed with which the Covid-19 virus spread around the world was shocking, and the fallout has been staggering. In fact, writes the author, “it may well turn out that this viral speck will cause the greatest economic, political, and social damage to humankind since World War II.” The U.S., in particular, was exposed as woefully unprepared, as government leadership failed to deliver a clear, practical message, and the nation’s vaunted medical institutions were caught flat-footed: "Before the pandemic…Americans might have taken solace in the country’s great research facilities or the huge amounts of money spent on health care, while forgetting about the waste, complexity and deeply unequal access that mark it as well." While American leaders wasted months denying the seriousness of Covid-19 and ignoring the advice of medical experts, other countries—e.g., South Korea, New Zealand, and Taiwan—acted swiftly and decisively, underscoring one of the author's main themes and second lesson: "What matters is not the quantity of government but the quality.” Discussing how “markets are not enough,” the author astutely shoots down the myth that throwing money at the problem can fix the situation; as such, he predicts a swing toward more socialist-friendly policies. Zakaria also delves into the significance of the digital economy, the resilience of cities (see the success of Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taipei in suppressing the virus), the deepening of economic inequality around the world, how the pandemic has exacerbated the rift between China and the U.S. (and will continue to do so), and why “people should listen to the experts—and experts should listen to the people."

A cleareyed, concise look at current and future affairs offering pertinent points to reflect and debate.

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-393-54213-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

more