An astute, discomfiting journey into a wasteland.

RUN AND HIDE

An intense, probing novel examines rampant materialism and spiritual bankruptcy.

Reprising concerns that informed several previous books, Mishra examines the consequences of capitalism, globalization, and the violence of greed on communities, families, and individuals. The narrator is Arun, who tells the story of his life and those of his friends Aseem and Virendra to Alia, a young writer aiming to expose the “Hollow Men” who have emerged from the so-called rise of the New India. Yearning to escape the squalor and humiliating caste system that marked their youth, the three, through dogged efforts, are accepted as students in a technical institute which, they believe, will launch them into a better future. “To be modern,” Aseem often repeats, “is to trample on the past; it is to take charge, to decide being something rather than nothing, active rather than passive, a decision-maker rather than a drifter.” Seduced by “fantasies of power,” money, and sex, Aseem and Virenda reinvent themselves: In New York, Virenda becomes a billionaire. Aseem, failing as a writer of literary fiction—like Naipaul, whom he venerates as “the prototype of the early twenty-first-century globalised man”—instead finds celebrity “as an environmental activist, cultural impresario and intellectual entrepreneur of the Global South.” Awash in money, he hobnobs with the international glitterati. Arun, meanwhile, beset by “a kind of guilt at wanting too much from the world,” retreats to a Himalayan village where he works as a translator. Yet he, too, is lured to the West, following Alia. Through Arun’s observations of educated, well-heeled liberals—Westerners and Westernized Indians—Mishra underscores the hypocrisy and pretentiousness of their overstressed “political and ideological commitments”; the behavior that Arun tries to emulate in “a series of impersonations—believable performances, with hardly any slips and fluffs, as an upper-caste Hindu”; and the painful trampling of his past.

An astute, discomfiting journey into a wasteland.

Pub Date: March 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-3746-0752-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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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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  • New York Times Bestseller

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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With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

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REMINDERS OF HIM

After being released from prison, a young woman tries to reconnect with her 5-year-old daughter despite having killed the girl’s father.

Kenna didn’t even know she was pregnant until after she was sent to prison for murdering her boyfriend, Scotty. When her baby girl, Diem, was born, she was forced to give custody to Scotty’s parents. Now that she’s been released, Kenna is intent on getting to know her daughter, but Scotty’s parents won’t give her a chance to tell them what really happened the night their son died. Instead, they file a restraining order preventing Kenna from so much as introducing herself to Diem. Handsome, self-assured Ledger, who was Scotty’s best friend, is another key adult in Diem’s life. He’s helping her grandparents raise her, and he too blames Kenna for Scotty’s death. Even so, there’s something about her that haunts him. Kenna feels the pull, too, and seems to be seeking Ledger out despite his judgmental behavior. As Ledger gets to know Kenna and acknowledges his attraction to her, he begins to wonder if maybe he and Scotty’s parents have judged her unfairly. Even so, Ledger is afraid that if he surrenders to his feelings, Scotty’s parents will kick him out of Diem’s life. As Kenna and Ledger continue to mourn for Scotty, they also grieve the future they cannot have with each other. Told alternatively from Kenna’s and Ledger’s perspectives, the story explores the myriad ways in which snap judgments based on partial information can derail people’s lives. Built on a foundation of death and grief, this story has an undercurrent of sadness. As usual, however, the author has created compelling characters who are magnetic and sympathetic enough to pull readers in. In addition to grief, the novel also deftly explores complex issues such as guilt, self-doubt, redemption, and forgiveness.

With captivating dialogue, angst-y characters, and a couple of steamy sex scenes, Hoover has done it again.

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5420-2560-7

Page Count: 335

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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