This is a small but vivid book, and in its evocation of people in the throes of social crisis, it feels deeply resonant.

THE SILENCE

“Life can get so interesting,” DeLillo writes, “that we forget to be afraid.”

It’s a typically loaded statement from an author who has spent the last half-century navigating the border between fascination and fear. His 17th novel unfolds in such a middle ground. Beginning on a trans-Atlantic jetliner from Paris to Newark that loses power due to a global surge or disruption, it is a small book, precise in its calibration, about what happens when the world we've constructed, with all its technological interventions, goes dark. “Cyberattacks, digital intrusions, biological aggressions,” DeLillo writes. “Anthrax, smallpox, pathogens. The dead and disabled. Starvation, plague and what else?” He may as well be describing the world outside the pages of his book. That’s a tricky point to make because fiction needs to succeed or fail on its own terms, but DeLillo has always had his finger on a more collective pulse. In Players (1977) and Mao II (1991), he explored the aesthetic possibilities of terror; in Underworld (1997), he reimagined history through an individual, as well as a collective, lens. This book doesn’t have that sort of scope or ambition; at just over 100 pages, it's more novella than full-length work. Still, in its account of five characters—Jim and Tessa, who survive the jetliner’s crash landing; Max and Diane, their hosts in New York; and Martin, a former student of Diane’s—this brief, disturbing story gets the sudden breakdown of society exactly right. The date is Super Bowl Sunday 2022, but when the grid goes down, the game is rendered moot. In its place, DeLillo investigates the disconnect between characters who claim to care for one another until disaster hits. The writing is spare and almost playlike, especially in the second section, which concludes with a series of monologues.

This is a small but vivid book, and in its evocation of people in the throes of social crisis, it feels deeply resonant.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982164-55-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Honestly, who needs Nantucket. It could hardly be more fun than this book.

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THE HOTEL NANTUCKET

Bring on the fresh-baked gougères and the hydrangea-blue cashmere throws: A classic fictional setting—the grand hotel—gets the Hilderbrand treatment.

The beloved beach novelist’s 28th book is another tour de force, deploying all her usual tricks and tropes and clever points of view, again among them a character from the afterlife and the collective “we” of gossipy island residents. Our ghost is Grace Hadley, a teenage chambermaid who died under suspicious circumstances in a hotel fire in 1922. Grace’s lonely days are over when the historic property is purchased and reopened by a London billionaire. As Xavier Darling tells his general manager, Lizbet Keaton, their goal will be to get five out of five keys from Shelly Carpenter, an undercover hotel blogger who has not awarded top honors to any spot visited so far. A gorgeous remodel, a sterling staff, free treats in the minibar, and—of course, since this is Hilderbrand—an incredible restaurant where a disco ball drops from the ceiling every night at 9 p.m. and the chef is hotter than any dish on the menu are all in play as the first guests come streaming in. Which one is the hard-to-please Ms. Carpenter? Other addictive storylines include a rich kid cleaning rooms to expiate some mysterious, terrible thing he did this past spring, an evil beauty breaking up island marriages (instead of a gun in the drawer, there's a half-used Chanel eye shadow in Pourpre Brun), and the desperate attempts of Lizbet’s ex, who sexted with their wine rep, to win her back. One of the special services Lizbet creates for the guests of the Hotel Nantucket is a “Blue Book” containing all her recommended island itineraries. A real-life version is included as an appendix, giving the complete scoop on where to eat, drink, sunbathe, shop, and stay on the island, plus notes on which Hilderbrand novels happened where. If you’re ready to check out Chicken Box or to try the sandwiches on herb bread that lured the author to become a permanent island resident in 1993, the Elin Hilderbrand Bucket List Weekend really is a thing.

Honestly, who needs Nantucket. It could hardly be more fun than this book.

Pub Date: June 14, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-25867-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

THE BOARDWALK BOOKSHOP

Three woman who join together to rent a large space along the beach in Los Angeles for their stores—a gift shop, a bakery, and a bookstore—become fast friends as they each experience the highs, and lows, of love.

Bree is a friendly but standoffish bookstore owner who keeps everyone she knows at arm’s length, from guys she meets in bars to her friends. Mikki is a settled-in-her-routines divorced mother of two, happily a mom, gift-shop owner, and co-parent with her ex-husband, Perry. And Ashley is a young, very-much-in-love bakery owner specializing in muffins who devotes herself to giving back to the community through a nonprofit that helps community members develop skills and find jobs. When the women meet drooling over a boardwalk storefront that none of them can afford on her own, a plan is hatched to divide the space in three, and a friendship—and business partnership—is born. An impromptu celebration on the beach at sunset with champagne becomes a weekly touchpoint to their lives as they learn more about each other and themselves. Their friendship blossoms as they help each other, offering support, hard truths, and loving backup. Author Mallery has created a delightful story of friendship between three women that also offers a variety of love stories as they fall in love, make mistakes, and figure out how to be the best—albeit still flawed—versions of themselves. The men are similarly flawed and human. While the story comes down clearly on the side of all-encompassing love, Mallery has struck a careful balance: There is just enough sex to be spicy, just enough swearing to be naughty, and just enough heartbreak to avoid being cloying.

A book begging to be read on the beach, with the sun warming the sand and salt in the air: pure escapism.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-778-38608-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harlequin MIRA

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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