Nothing astonishing here; just a gifted purveyor of American short fiction working on her craft and offering up the results.


A promising debut collection of short fiction and other ephemera from McCarty (English/ Salisbury Univ.).

The author offers a surprising diversity of tone scattered among the kinds of solid short stories that emerge from places like the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The first of three distinct sections, “Animalia,” strongly represents melancholic remembrances. The book opens with the title story, a travelogue about crisscrossing New York City during a hot summer. The next story, “Fellowship," concerns a teenage girl who's dealing with her parents’ imminent divorce while simultaneously finding sexual frustration with the abstinent Christian boy to whom she’s attached herself. “Indirect Object” describes an uncomfortable encounter between a tutor and the father of one of his students. Another, “The Fat of the Land,” is about what it’s like to become soft when exchanging Manhattan for Iowa. The middle section, “Histology,” is brief, as are the flash fictions included within. They’re slight experiments like “Passive Aggressive,” which lays out all the reasons a woman is not speaking to her partner in advance of a girls’ weekend in Las Vegas. The final third, “Bacterium,” is where McCarty gets far more experimental with her storytelling. “Field Reports” amusingly examines a sexual encounter in the form of a lab report detailing blood alcohol levels, costuming, and body posture. The social satire “Another Zombie Story” takes aim at the deadening of life through technology. The final few stories fall back on more Midwestern slice-of-life moments centered on brash, masculine protagonists familiar to anyone who grew up in rural America. The collection sums itself up with “Anamesis: An Epilogue,” a kind of self-survey that notes a variety of conditions ranging from “Consistently underhydrated” to “One failed relationship ending in death.”

Nothing astonishing here; just a gifted purveyor of American short fiction working on her craft and offering up the results.

Pub Date: June 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-941143-03-2

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Aforementioned Productions

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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