GONE TO THE DOGS

The first hardcover Conant mystery, custom-groomed for dog people, whose devotion to the canine goes beyond that of mere dog lovers—dog people are those ``who can discuss impacted anal sacs [at a party] without gagging on their Brie.'' The sleuth here is Holly Winter, in a mystery plot one shouldn't worry too much about. It concerns the disappearance of Dr. Oscar Patterson, DVM, who had recommended vet Lee Miner to Holly's vet/inamorato Steve Delaney as a partner in his clinic. It was Dr. Miner (a cold dish of Iams) who'd heard a row between Dr. Paterson and an owner whose dog had just died in the small hours. Is Oscar dead? And where is Jackie Miner, Lee's wife? Featured here is a rare breed, the Chinook, related to the malamute, Holly's chosen breed. The mystery itself wobbles here and there, but the Cambridge, Mass., setting is fun (Harvard at Christmas with super-pipes ``with a range of three notes'' and Morris dances), and the dog talk for the hard-core dog crowd is fine. Come. Sit. Stay.

Pub Date: July 7, 1992

ISBN: 0-385-42378-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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THE THINGS THEY CARRIED

It's being called a novel, but it is more a hybrid: short-stories/essays/confessions about the Vietnam War—the subject that O'Brien reasonably comes back to with every book. Some of these stories/memoirs are very good in their starkness and factualness: the title piece, about what a foot soldier actually has on him (weights included) at any given time, lends a palpability that makes the emotional freight (fear, horror, guilt) correspond superbly. Maybe the most moving piece here is "On The Rainy River," about a draftee's ambivalence about going, and how he decided to go: "I would go to war—I would kill and maybe die—because I was embarrassed not to." But so much else is so structurally coy that real effects are muted and disadvantaged: O'Brien is writing a book more about earnestness than about war, and the peekaboos of this isn't really me but of course it truly is serve no true purpose. They make this an annoyingly arty book, hiding more than not behind Hemingwayesque time-signatures and puerile repetitions about war (and memory and everything else, for that matter) being hell and heaven both. A disappointment.

Pub Date: March 28, 1990

ISBN: 0618706410

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1990

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THE COMPLETE SHORT STORIES OF ERNEST HEMINGWAY

THE FINCA VIGIA EDITION

What's most worthy in this hefty, three-part volume of still more Hemingway is that it contains (in its first section) all the stories that appeared together in the 1938 (and now out of print) The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories. After this, however, the pieces themselves and the grounds for their inclusion become more shaky. The second section includes stories that have been previously published but that haven't appeared in collections—including two segments (from 1934 and 1936) that later found their way into To Have and Have Not (1937) and the "story-within-a-story" that appeared in the recent The garden of Eden. Part three—frequently of more interest for Flemingway-voyeurs than for its self-evident merits—consists of previously unpublished work, including a lengthy outtake ("The Strange Country") from Islands in the Stream (1970), and two poor-to-middling Michigan stories (actually pieces, again, from an unfinished novel). Moments of interest, but luckiest are those who still have their copies of The First Forty-Nine.

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 1987

ISBN: 0684843323

Page Count: 666

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1987

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