A refreshing take on a classic for a new, diverse generation.




A Hindu retelling of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

In this debut novel, Kundanmal transplants Ebenezer Scrooge to modern-day India in the person of Salaram Baiman, a cranky moneylender who treats those around him with Scrooge’s well-known coldness and greed, even using the famous “Bah! Humbug!”catchphrase. On the eve of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, Baiman is visited by the ghost of his dead partner, Mohamed Crorepathi, who warns him of a dire fate awaiting him in the afterlife if he doesn’t change his ways. From these familiar beginnings, the story takes a new turn; Baiman is visited by the ghosts of Diwalis past and future, but the ghost of Diwali present is curiously missing. Eventually, he meets the goddess Laxmi herself and follows a familiar path as he comes to know the true meaning of Diwali. The shift in cultural context highlights the story’s universality while also exploring themes and rituals specific to Hindus, making it an accessible tale for readers of all faiths. The story is both satirical and earnest, capturing the spirit of the original with a mix of modern and classic language: “[I]t amounted to no more than what academics have termed ‘bovine scatology’ and regular folks the world over call ‘bulls**t.’ ” Even the ghosts are a mix of old and new; the ghost of Diwali future, for instance, presents himself as a fast-talking American, because America is “where the smart money in the future is headed.” Kundanmal’s tongue-in-cheek prose is fast and fun, although the abundance of cultural references can sometimes be too varied, blending mentions of Los Angeles with practices particular to India and at times giving the story a somewhat scattered feel. These missteps are few, however. Overall, Kundanmal’s spin on Dickens is enjoyable, relevant and heartwarming, with a good dash of humor.

A refreshing take on a classic for a new, diverse generation.

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4921-7394-6

Page Count: 86

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.


A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.


Piper Manning is determined to sell her family’s property so she can leave her hometown behind, but when her siblings come back with life-changing secrets and her sexy neighbor begins to feel like “The One,” she might have to redo her to-do list.

As children, Piper and her younger siblings, Gavin and Winnie, were sent to live with their grandparents in Wildstone, California, from the Congo after one of Gavin’s friends was killed. Their parents were supposed to meet them later but never made it. Piper wound up being more of a parent than her grandparents, though: “In the end, Piper had done all the raising. It’d taken forever, but now, finally, her brother and sister were off living their own lives.” Piper, the queen of the bullet journal, plans to fix up the family’s lakeside property her grandparents left the three siblings when they died. Selling it will enable her to study to be a physician’s assistant as she’s always wanted. However, just as the goal seems in sight, Gavin and Winnie come home, ostensibly for Piper’s 30th birthday, and then never leave. Turns out, Piper’s brother and sister have recently managed to get into a couple buckets of trouble, and they need some time to reevaluate their options. They aren’t willing to share their problems with Piper, though they’ve been completely open with each other. And Winnie, who’s pregnant, has been very open with Piper’s neighbor Emmitt Reid and his visiting son, Camden, since the baby’s father is Cam’s younger brother, Rowan, who died a few months earlier in a car accident. Everyone has issues to navigate, made more complicated by Gavin and Winnie’s swearing Cam to secrecy just as he and Piper try—and fail—to ignore their attraction to each other. Shalvis keeps the physical and emotional tension high, though the siblings’ refusal to share with Piper becomes tedious and starts to feel childish.

Shalvis’ latest retains her spark and sizzle.

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296139-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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