KLEINZEIT

A light little novel in the '60's boom style that established paranoid schizophrenia as the writer's Disneyland and a pleasantly sharable social ground. This is generically perfect point by point: Kleinzeit, a sacked London ad writer, also newly divorced and stricken with pain in the hypotenuse, is drawn to Hospital (which coos telepathically through his dreams) and there takes up with Sister, his two-ply whore/madonna night nurse who talks detachedly with God. He also, by mysterious means, gets involved with a hippy/derelict who haunts the Underground (which also talks to Kleinzeit) scattering blank sheets of yellow paper. . . . This yellow paper is to Kleinzeit what WASTE was to whomever it was in Lot 49; Kleinzeit's wardmates, with names like Flashpoint, have had equally unique and peculiar experiences that all have fallen in the way of doom, and whatever is now going on (involving Kleinzeit who is now busking with a glockenspiel in the tubes, sister, and the Dirty Chimpanzee Death) has precedents as far back as Orpheus. Most aspects of this point to other precedents of the last decade, and the driftiness and damned inherent sweetness seem to be vaguely parodying them all. Hard to tell.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 1974

ISBN: 0747556415

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1974

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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