THE TOWN

Subtitled A Novel of the Snopes Family, this continues the particular panel in the Jefferson, Mississippi, chronicle that centers on the Snopes, with their ambitious and rapacious Flem Snopes as villain of the piece. Closely linked with The Hamlet (1940) and with the county of Yoknapatawpha which is Faulkner's own creation, this novel will find its market largely among those Faulkner addicts who feel that his mythical kingdom is at one and the same time, symbolic of the South he reflects and an accurate reportorial record of its people and its thinking. Despite the gap since The Hamlet was written, the reader will quickly recognize other characters who comprise the lively gallery of the Faulkner world. The story helps resolve the tragic impasse in the love affair of Eula Snopes and Manfred deSpain; it pursues the unpleasant career of Flem Snopes as he determines to eliminate his family from the local scene; it sets Linda, daughter of Eul, on a path that may help her lough off the hampering memories of Jefferson; and it enriches the imaginative portrait of a place and a people. The manner will be for many a deterrent, as Faulkner tells his story through many of the participants — a sound track technique, with hesitations, repetitions, and a colloquial tendency to stray from the issue. But — after a more than ordinarily slow start — the story gathers momentum and the random bits fall into place. Definitely a book for those who regard Faulkner as a significant figure in the American literary scene. One questions whether it will make new recruits.

Pub Date: May 1, 1975

ISBN: 0394701844

Page Count: -

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1957

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ANIMAL FARM

A FAIRY STORY

A modern day fable, with modern implications in a deceiving simplicity, by the author of Dickens. Dali and Others (Reynal & Hitchcock, p. 138), whose critical brilliance is well adapted to this type of satire. This tells of the revolt on a farm, against humans, when the pigs take over the intellectual superiority, training the horses, cows, sheep, etc., into acknowledging their greatness. The first hints come with the reading out of a pig who instigated the building of a windmill, so that the electric power would be theirs, the idea taken over by Napoleon who becomes topman with no maybes about it. Napoleon trains the young puppies to be his guards, dickers with humans, gradually instigates a reign of terror, and breaks the final commandment against any animal walking on two legs. The old faithful followers find themselves no better off for food and work than they were when man ruled them, learn their final disgrace when they see Napoleon and Squealer carousing with their enemies... A basic statement of the evils of dictatorship in that it not only corrupts the leaders, but deadens the intelligence and awareness of those led so that tyranny is inevitable. Mr. Orwell's animals exist in their own right, with a narrative as individual as it is apt in political parody.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 1946

ISBN: 0452277507

Page Count: 114

Publisher: Harcourt, Brace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1946

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Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

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ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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