A masterful volume of poems that captures the sensuality of love in two languages.

POEMS OF LOVE

A collection offers English and Spanish love poems that explore nature.

This volume opens with both English and Spanish versions of Walt Whitman’s “Out of the Rolling Ocean the Crowd.” Hall then segues into bilingual poems about absence, be it in the form of love for a stranger or a country no one has visited. “Summer” describes an intimate encounter in the hottest of seasons, while “Down River” traces the speaker’s nature walk as she reminisces about her lover: “Every day at dawn, / I recover in my arms / the original caresses when / our bodies rediscovered one another.” “Poem of Love” details how the whole world and even the stars seem to worship the speaker’s beloved. She considers the power the moon has over lovers in “You Stole the Moon From Me” and mourns the dual losses of a birch tree and a partner in “Farewell.” In “Anticipation,” she imagines a future life, full of family, food, and laughter, with her love interest. “Love in the Time of Coronavirus” wonders about what humanity has learned, if anything, from the Covid-19 pandemic. The poet concludes with “That Man,” which evokes spiritual, if not blatantly biblical, imagery as it imagines a deity walking along the ocean’s shore, “deciphering the human enigma.” Hall has mastered brevity; as Whitman himself might say, her poems contain multitudes even when they span as few as seven lines. Her poems drip with desire in verses like “To voice your name, / my lips hunger, and / savor every syllable until I’ve said it.” Her descriptions of the physical world are vivid and entice the senses, as when she writes of a garden where “white flowers perfume the air, / hummingbirds nibble nectar” and recalls “the heart of a rose beating in / the palm of my hand.” Her translations are not only grammatically accurate, but also aptly convey deep emotions in both English and Spanish. If there is a flaw in this collection, it is that some of the poems could have been further fleshed out; the author often leaves readers wanting more.

A masterful volume of poems that captures the sensuality of love in two languages. (dedication, index)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64-913058-7

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Rosedog Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2021

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As the pieces of this magical literary puzzle snap together, a flicker of hope is sparked for our benighted world.

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CLOUD CUCKOO LAND

An ancient Greek manuscript connects humanity's past, present, and future.

Stranger, whoever you are, open this to learn what will amaze you” wrote Antonius Diogenes at the end of the first century C.E.—and millennia later, Pulitzer Prize winner Doerr is his fitting heir. Around Diogenes' manuscript, "Cloud Cuckoo Land"—the author did exist, but the text is invented—Doerr builds a community of readers and nature lovers that transcends the boundaries of time and space. The protagonist of the original story is Aethon, a shepherd whose dream of escaping to a paradise in the sky leads to a wild series of adventures in the bodies of beast, fish, and fowl. Aethon's story is first found by Anna in 15th-century Constantinople; though a failure as an apprentice seamstress, she's learned ancient Greek from an elderly scholar. Omeir, a country boy of the same period, is rejected by the world for his cleft lip—but forms the deepest of connections with his beautiful oxen, Moonlight and Tree. In the 1950s, Zeno Ninis, a troubled ex–GI in Lakeport, Idaho, finds peace in working on a translation of Diogenes' recently recovered manuscript. In 2020, 86-year-old Zeno helps a group of youngsters put the story on as a play at the Lakeport Public Library—unaware that an eco-terrorist is planting a bomb in the building during dress rehearsal. (This happens in the first pages of the book and continues ticking away throughout.) On a spaceship called the Argos bound for Beta Oph2 in Mission Year 65, a teenage girl named Konstance is sequestered in a sealed room with a computer named Sybil. How could she possibly encounter Zeno's translation? This is just one of the many narrative miracles worked by the author as he brings a first-century story to its conclusion in 2146.

As the pieces of this magical literary puzzle snap together, a flicker of hope is sparked for our benighted world.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982168-43-8

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Funny, sad, astute, occasionally creepy, and slyly irresistible.

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APPLES NEVER FALL

Australian novelist Moriarty combines domestic realism and noirish mystery in this story about the events surrounding a 69-year-old Sydney woman’s disappearance.

Joy and Stan Delaney met as champion tennis players more than 50 years ago and ran a well-regarded tennis academy until their recent retirement. Their long, complicated marriage has been filled with perhaps as much passion for the game of tennis as for each other or their children. When Joy disappears on Feb. 14, 2020 (note the date), the last text she sends to her now-grown kids—bohemian Amy, passive Logan, flashy Troy, and migraine-suffering Brooke—is too garbled by autocorrect to decipher and stubborn Stan refuses to accept that there might be a problem. But days pass and Joy remains missing and uncharacteristically silent. As worrisome details come to light, the police become involved. The structure follows the pattern of Big Little Lies (2014) by setting up a mystery and then jumping months into the past to unravel it. Here, Moriarty returns to the day a stranger named Savannah turned up bleeding on the Delaneys’ doorstep and Joy welcomed her to stay for an extended visit. Who is Savannah? Whether she’s innocent, scamming, or something else remains unclear on many levels. Moriarty is a master of ambiguity and also of the small, telling detail like a tossed tennis racket or the repeated appearance of apple crumble. Starting with the abandoned bike that's found by a passing motorist on the first page, the evidence that accumulates around what happened to Joy constantly challenges the reader both to notice which minor details (and characters) matter and to distinguish between red herrings and buried clues. The ultimate reveal is satisfying, if troubling. But Moriarty’s main focus, which she approaches from countless familiar and unexpected angles, is the mystery of family and what it means to be a parent, child, or sibling in the Delaney family—or in any family, for that matter.

Funny, sad, astute, occasionally creepy, and slyly irresistible.

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-22025-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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