Disturbing, powerful, a deeply personal story that is also searingly political.

AN IMPOSSIBLE LOVE

The most recently translated autofiction by controversial French literary phenomenon Angot brings her unflinching intelligence to a terrible childhood trauma.

The novel starts with the love story of the narrator's parents. It's the 1950s in the small French town of Châteauroux when beautiful, impoverished Rachel meets Pierre, the cultured scion of a wealthy Parisian family. Rachel lives with her younger sister and works at the Social Security office. Pierre is a translator at the nearby American military base. Rachel's parents are not much present, her mother due to ill health, her father because, being Jewish, he spent the war out of the country; he appears only to criticize and reject his offspring. Rachel's love for Pierre is unanalyzed, naïve. He seems extraordinary and unconventional, unlike her small-town suitors. When he explains that he will never marry her, because he needs to feel free and because her family isn't wealthy, she understands, even though "When you went out with a man, and you weren't married, you know, in those years, you were like a piece of trash." Likewise when she gets pregnant and he refuses to come see her, choosing instead to vacation in Italy. She raises their daughter, Christine, on her own while working full time during a period when most mothers stayed home. She calls the girl "my little fawn," and Christine adores her. Then Pierre reappears, now married to a rich German with whom he has started a family. Rachel implores him to recognize Christine officially. They're moving to Reims for her new job, and no one there knows her history. At last, complaining, he agrees, and Christine takes his name, Angot. He begins to visit, taking her to restaurants and away on weekend trips, encouraging her studies. Starved for paternal affection, adolescent Christine is entranced by her father's style and money, his education. A chasm opens between her and her mother. And a terrible secret divides them. The slow, painful healing of their rift is deeply moving. (When, a grown woman and mother herself, Christine begins to call her mother Maman again, it's "like a little bell at last repaired.") Described without overstatement or sensationalism, raw and honest, their experience rings brutally true. What began as a love story ends as an indictment of generations of internalized misogyny, antisemitism, class warfare, and the abuse of power.

Disturbing, powerful, a deeply personal story that is also searingly political.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-953861-04-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Archipelago

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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

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DEVOLUTION

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. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A bracing test of the maxim that “the department always comes first. The department always wins.”

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THE DARK HOURS

Meet today’s LAPD, with both good and bad apples reduced to reacting to crimes defensively instead of trying to prevent them, unless of course they’re willing to break the rules.

New Year’s Eve 2020 finds Detective Renée Ballard, survivor of rape and Covid-19, partnered with Detective Lisa Moore, of Hollywood’s Sexual Assault Unit, in search of leads on the Midnight Men, a tag team of rapists who assaulted women on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve without leaving any forensic evidence behind. The pair are called to the scene of a shooting that would have gone to West Bureau Homicide if the unit weren’t already stretched to the limit, a case that should be handed over to West Bureau ASAP. But Ballard gets her teeth into the murder of body shop owner Javier Raffa, who reportedly bought his way out of the gang Las Palmas. The news that Raffa’s been shot by the same weapon that killed rapper Albert Lee 10 years ago sends Ballard once more to Harry Bosch, the poster boy for retirements that drive the LAPD crazy. Both victims had taken on silent partners in order to liquidate their debts, and there’s every indication that the partners were linked. That’s enough for Ballard and Bosch to launch a shadow investigation even as Ballard, abandoned by Moore, who’s flown the coop for the weekend, works feverishly to identify the Midnight Men on her own. As usual in this stellar series, the path to the last act is paved with false leads, interdepartmental squabbles, and personal betrayals, and the structure sometimes sways in the breeze. But no one who follows Ballard and Bosch to the end will be disappointed.

A bracing test of the maxim that “the department always comes first. The department always wins.”

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-48564-7

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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