An evocative work of fiction rooted in one of the darkest eras of history.


A riveting story of survival, set during the Holocaust.

In 1943, Nazis invade a Jewish settlement in Poland and arrest two leading members of the resistance. The couple, Perla and Shimon Divko, an investigative reporter and former detective for the Warsaw Police, respectively, are transported to Auschwitz. Once there, they’re separated and try their best to survive as prisoners. Perla attempts to document and archive the experiences of those in the camp before becoming a typist for Nazi guard Gisela Brandt, and Shimon finds ways to slightly improve the conditions of his crew in the munitions factory. One day, however, the chief accountant at Auschwitz is found dead and a ledger goes missing from a safe. It turns out that the camp commander, Rudolf Hoss, was making his own gold ingots at the camp—stolen from the prisoners’ possessions, including dental fillings—which have now gone missing, as well. Worried that his operation will be found out, Hoss demands that Perla and Shimon assist him in to tracking down the ledger, the gold, and the murderer. Hogan’s prose is gripping as well as informative about its characters, as when Perla begins working as a recording clerk at the camp: “At first the numbers and their significance had overwhelmed her because she realized that each entry marked the end of a life…she had resolved to remember the lives behind the numbers….It was a resolution that lasted the better part of a month before the numbers overwhelmed her intentions.” Along with the primary plot of the missing ingots and ledger, Hogan also effectively details the grim daily aspects of life in the death camp—from the lack of food to prisoners’ tips for survival. Although the story of the investigation is certainly engaging, it’s also brutal; the author never sugarcoats the horrors of the camp. He deftly presents the heinous, historical truths of Auschwitz within the fictional realm of his story—a delicate balance that Hogan achieves with intelligent, thoughtful prose.

An evocative work of fiction rooted in one of the darkest eras of history.

Pub Date: July 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73694-361-8

Page Count: 274

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An exhilarating ride through Americana.


Newly released from a work farm in 1950s Kansas, where he served 18 months for involuntary manslaughter, 18-year-old Emmett Watson hits the road with his little brother, Billy, following the death of their father and the foreclosure of their Nebraska farm.

They leave to escape angry townspeople who believe Emmett got off easy, having caused the fatal fall of a taunting local boy by punching him in the nose. The whip-smart Billy, who exhibits OCD–like symptoms, convinces Emmett to drive them to San Francisco to reunite with their mother, who left town eight years ago. He insists she's there, based on postcards she sent before completely disappearing from their lives. But when Emmett's prized red Studebaker is "borrowed" by two rambunctious, New York–bound escapees from the juvie facility he just left, Emmett takes after them via freight train with Billy in tow. Billy befriends a Black veteran named Ulysses who's been riding the rails nonstop since returning home from World War II to find his wife and baby boy gone. A modern picaresque with a host of characters, competing points of view, wandering narratives, and teasing chapter endings, Towles' third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow (2016). You can quibble with one or two plot turns, but there's no resisting moments such as Billy's encounter, high up in the Empire State Building in the middle of the night, with professor Abacus Abernathe, whose Compendium of Heroes, Adventurers, and Other Intrepid Travelers he's read 24 times. A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, Towles' novel is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history.

An exhilarating ride through Americana.

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-73-522235-9

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

As the pieces of this magical literary puzzle snap together, a flicker of hope is sparked for our benighted world.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Finalist


An ancient Greek manuscript connects humanity's past, present, and future.

Stranger, whoever you are, open this to learn what will amaze you” wrote Antonius Diogenes at the end of the first century C.E.—and millennia later, Pulitzer Prize winner Doerr is his fitting heir. Around Diogenes' manuscript, "Cloud Cuckoo Land"—the author did exist, but the text is invented—Doerr builds a community of readers and nature lovers that transcends the boundaries of time and space. The protagonist of the original story is Aethon, a shepherd whose dream of escaping to a paradise in the sky leads to a wild series of adventures in the bodies of beast, fish, and fowl. Aethon's story is first found by Anna in 15th-century Constantinople; though a failure as an apprentice seamstress, she's learned ancient Greek from an elderly scholar. Omeir, a country boy of the same period, is rejected by the world for his cleft lip—but forms the deepest of connections with his beautiful oxen, Moonlight and Tree. In the 1950s, Zeno Ninis, a troubled ex–GI in Lakeport, Idaho, finds peace in working on a translation of Diogenes' recently recovered manuscript. In 2020, 86-year-old Zeno helps a group of youngsters put the story on as a play at the Lakeport Public Library—unaware that an eco-terrorist is planting a bomb in the building during dress rehearsal. (This happens in the first pages of the book and continues ticking away throughout.) On a spaceship called the Argos bound for Beta Oph2 in Mission Year 65, a teenage girl named Konstance is sequestered in a sealed room with a computer named Sybil. How could she possibly encounter Zeno's translation? This is just one of the many narrative miracles worked by the author as he brings a first-century story to its conclusion in 2146.

As the pieces of this magical literary puzzle snap together, a flicker of hope is sparked for our benighted world.

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982168-43-8

Page Count: 656

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?