Next book

THE SACRED RIVER

A trio of Victorian women travel to Egypt and encounter dangers—chief among them a taste for independence—in an engaging new novel from the British author of The Painted Bridge (2012).

Though just a young woman, Harriet lives the life of an invalid in her parents' elegant home. She suffers from asthma, a condition intensified by the venomous air of London in 1882. Fascinated by Egypt, she persuades her doctor to prescribe a visit. Her mother, Louisa, agrees (after consultation with her spiritualist), and so mother, daughter and spinster Aunt Yael make the journey; there are delicious shades of Forster here—naïve imperialists en route to an unknowable land. On ship they meet Herr Professor Eberhardt Woolfe, who is transporting a grand piano, and Eyre Soane, a painter who recognizes Louisa from a shared (and infamous) past. Soane intends to capitalize on his secrets. Alexandria offers clean air for Harriet and a rebirth for Yael, who has spent her life doting on her father; while opening a clinic for children, she discovers her own considerable abilities. But all Louisa wants is a return to London, to be rid of Soane and the memories he stirs. As a girl, Louisa was “discovered” by the great portrait painter Augustus Soane, Eyre's father. Hoping for a way to advance the family, Louisa’s mother insisted she sit for him; little did she know her daughter posed nude and was victim to the great man’s advances. When Alexandria’s windstorms begin, Harriet and Louisa travel to Luxor, where they again meet professor Woolfe, an Egyptologist taken by Harriet’s knowledge. In her he has found a kindred spirit: Harriet makes copies of the hieroglyphics he unearths, helping him decode their meanings. Meanwhile, Soane has followed them to Luxor, and a rebellion is brewing among the Egyptians, making a return to England seem increasingly impossible. Whereas Wallace's first novel was marred by overreaching, this one is marked by a fine subtlety, making her a writer to watch.

           

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4516-5812-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 170


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Next book

DEVOLUTION

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 170


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • New York Times Bestseller

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z(2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Next book

HOUSE OF LEAVES

The story's very ambiguity steadily feeds its mysteriousness and power, and Danielewski's mastery of postmodernist and...

An amazingly intricate and ambitious first novel - ten years in the making - that puts an engrossing new spin on the traditional haunted-house tale.

Texts within texts, preceded by intriguing introductory material and followed by 150 pages of appendices and related "documents" and photographs, tell the story of a mysterious old house in a Virginia suburb inhabited by esteemed photographer-filmmaker Will Navidson, his companion Karen Green (an ex-fashion model), and their young children Daisy and Chad.  The record of their experiences therein is preserved in Will's film The Davidson Record - which is the subject of an unpublished manuscript left behind by a (possibly insane) old man, Frank Zampano - which falls into the possession of Johnny Truant, a drifter who has survived an abusive childhood and the perverse possessiveness of his mad mother (who is institutionalized).  As Johnny reads Zampano's manuscript, he adds his own (autobiographical) annotations to the scholarly ones that already adorn and clutter the text (a trick perhaps influenced by David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest) - and begins experiencing panic attacks and episodes of disorientation that echo with ominous precision the content of Davidson's film (their house's interior proves, "impossibly," to be larger than its exterior; previously unnoticed doors and corridors extend inward inexplicably, and swallow up or traumatize all who dare to "explore" their recesses).  Danielewski skillfully manipulates the reader's expectations and fears, employing ingeniously skewed typography, and throwing out hints that the house's apparent malevolence may be related to the history of the Jamestown colony, or to Davidson's Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of a dying Vietnamese child stalked by a waiting vulture.  Or, as "some critics [have suggested,] the house's mutations reflect the psychology of anyone who enters it."

The story's very ambiguity steadily feeds its mysteriousness and power, and Danielewski's mastery of postmodernist and cinema-derived rhetoric up the ante continuously, and stunningly.  One of the most impressive excursions into the supernatural in many a year.

Pub Date: March 6, 2000

ISBN: 0-375-70376-4

Page Count: 704

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2000

Categories:
Close Quickview