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Quietly absorbing tales with indelible characters.

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This debut collection of 10 short stories boasts elements of magic, SF, and compassion.

Characters in these tales, which are predominantly set in Madras (aka Chennai), India, sometimes encounter the otherworldly. In “Upper Class,” for example, young Alauddin is an orphan serving coffee to train passengers traveling from Madras to Calcutta. But he does something extraordinary when he, draped in a chaadar (shawl), steps off the moving train and seemingly flies away. Similarly, in the eerie “Blood Red and Black,” a house in a small community is now vacant after two people committed suicide there. Later, one boy sees house lizards inside—pale, bloodless creatures that may be more than simple reptiles. Ghosh’s succinct prose ensures that the stories as well as instances of horror remain largely ambiguous. But passages are descriptive; the author’s SF outing, in which astronauts in 2034 endure an unnerving excursion to Mars, is filled with rich details. Nevertheless, though tales of magic and the like are delightful, standouts in this collection are grounded in reality. The book opens with “Scarlet Tanager,” in which New Jerseyan Swapan Bose, piloting his new drone, spots a nest of baby birds high in a tree. But when the mother bird disappears, the Bose family looks for a way to feed the hatchlings. Another tale, “The Earthen Moon,” is a pleasant comedy featuring Madras ninth grader Sam, whose surname, incidentally, is also Bose. His school’s upcoming dance-drama could be a chance for Sam to get close to Radha Iyer, a “dainty, elegant and tall” South Indian girl. But with a principal who frowns on any male-female interaction, Sam may find proximity to Radha an unachievable goal. Ghosh’s stories are easy reads and free of profanities or graphic imagery. Regardless, there’s an impressive range of characters, from a cruel father who goes to great lengths to prohibit his son from running away again to a South Korean woman whose inheritance from her estranged Indian father is more heartfelt than lavish.

Quietly absorbing tales with indelible characters.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-943471-40-9

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Azalea Art Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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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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