PILGRIM

Findley’s penchant for busy plotting is as evident here as in his earlier work (The Piano Man’s Daughter, 1996, etc.). This time, though, when a Tiresias-like character locks horns with analyst Carl Jung in the latter’s Zurich clinic, one expects the story to be rich with experiences past and present, conscious and unconscious. In a spring snowstorm in 1912, two weary travelers from London arrive at the famous BÅrgholzli Clinic—one, gaunt and mute, to be treated for suicidal intentions; the other, charming and lovely, to supervise. But Pilgrim, the suicidal one, has reason for his death wish: He can’t die, no matter how often he tries. His escort, Lady Quartermaine, knows this, yet she still wants to rescue him from despair. Shrewdly, Jung gets Pilgrim to talk again and also wheedles out of Lady Quartermaine one of Pilgrim’s journals, which reveals that the patient, a famous art historian, was acquainted more intimately with Leonardo da Vinci than seems possible. Jung can't accept the evidence that Pilgrim, in a previous form, was Leonardo’s lover and the model for the Mona Lisa, instead viewing this as an exceptional fantasy. When Her Ladyship dies in an avalanche, however, and leaves Pilgrim’s other journals to the bewildered doctor, he is soon out of his depth. The journals document Pilgrim’s lives as a 16th-century Spanish shepherd befriended by Saint Teresa; a stained-glass craftsman working on the windows of Chartres Cathedral; and a nobleman enjoying the action during the siege of Troy. Pilgrim’s adversarial attitude and Jung’s affair with someone at the clinic keep the psychiatrist from making progress with his patient. Eventually, Pilgrim turns violent and escapes, to fulfill what he sees as his final obligations. Some clever turns and echoes of Mann’s Magic Mountain, but in the end, Pilgrim’s many lives make him hard to know, and his nemesis Jung, for all his ambition, seems more inclined to chase skirts than such truth as might exist in the puzzle his patient embodies. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2000

ISBN: 0-06-019197-X

Page Count: 496

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1999

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

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.

BAREFOOT

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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