BENDING TIME

Novelist Minot delivers a second collection of well-tuned fictions (after Crossings, 1975, not reviewed)—all perfectly balanced in their ability to evoke, enchant, and engage. As the title suggests, the 12 stories here focus on the powerful, often corrosive effect that time's passage can have on memories and our expectations. The volume is divided into three parts: ``Bending Time and Memory,'' in which the characters are inextricably bound to the past; ``Time in Exile,'' which reveals the disjointed lives of Americans living abroad; and ``Time in the American City.'' ``The Senator's Son'' (in Part III) subtly depicts the strained relationship between a prominent US senator and his estranged, antiestablishment son, the two now brought together for the funeral of the young man's mother. Their futile tug-of-war, with the senator trying to reclaim his golden boy of the past, with his beach bum son negating his father's dreams at every turn, ends with a pathetic arm-wrestling contest to determine control. Some of the most compelling pieces focus on Americans living in exile, literally and emotionally. ``Exiles'' portrays the bittersweet reunion of a son and his father on the latter's 70th birthday. All the players in the story are exiles of some sort: Robert's father has spent the last 35 years in Geneva as an academic; Robert lives in Paris with his wife, who herself feels disconnected from her rural hometown; and finally there's their friend Sigmund, German and black, who feels lost and without a homeland. ``A Death in Paris'' begins with the death of Victor, a longtime Paris resident famous for his generosity and charm, and follows the alarming discoveries about Victor and his double life made by two of his old American friends. What they find throws into question the validity of their memories and of the past itself. A fine example of the power and resonance of short fiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-877946-96-6

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Permanent Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1997

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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

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

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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

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