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Nonsense, largely, crafted to frame Fischer’s dead-on social observations and murderous wit, and if you’re in the mood, it’s...

An agoraphobe in London muses and reminisces. She has much to remember and ponder, most of it very funny indeed.

The latest excuse for a plot for Fischer (I Like Being Killed, 2000, etc.) to work his wit on is the morbid houseboundness of Oceane, a young dancer who found opportunity and support in Barcelona’s sex industry but who has since moved on to software, where she has made enough in licensing to live pleasantly in her own flat in a marginal but not life-threatening neighborhood. She doesn’t leave her building because she doesn’t have to and because it’s really repulsive in the streets these days. Oceane does do a bit of virtual traveling, and she makes trips to what she calls the “beach,” the common area downstairs where the mail sent to long-departed residents of the building sloshes around on the floor like so much flotsam. On one trip to the beach she meets Audley, a bill collector whose target left years ago. Oceane engages him to collect wages owed but unpaid by a business client, and then, when a letter from a ten-year-dead lover arrives, she sends Audley to Barcelona and farther to check that out. The dead letter trips memories of her days as a sex object that fill half the book, and effectively, since live sex is a funny subject and Fischer, when he’s on a roll, is about as funny as anyone writing today. Oceane’s colleagues are a mostly amiable lot. There are athletic lesbians from Dallas, a breathtakingly gorgeous and epically potent but totally self-involved bodybuilder (her partner in the show), and Heidi, who seems to be, well, a sexual black hole, a woman of spectacular gravity. Audley has his own story to tell involving the Bosnian war and, eventually, Oceane.

Nonsense, largely, crafted to frame Fischer’s dead-on social observations and murderous wit, and if you’re in the mood, it’s pretty wonderful.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2004

ISBN: 1-58243-297-X

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2003

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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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