Review by New York Times Review
LAKE SUCCESS, by Gary Shteyngart. (Random House, $18.) Overwhelmed by his young son's autism diagnosis and dodging a subpoena from the S.E.C., this book's antihero leaves behind a job at a Manhattan hedge fund and hops on a Greyhound bus, hoping to reconnect with an ex-girlfriend teaching Holocaust studies in El Paso. Shteyngart's frantic humor keeps the story afloat and gleefully satirizes the upper class. SOMETHING WONDERFUL: Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway Revolution, by Todd S. Purdum. (Picador, $20.) This book is an authoritative portrait of the duo behind some of our best-loved musicals: "Oklahoma!," "South Pacific," "The King and I" and more. For all their masterpieces, the pair was often seen as stodgy and middlebrow. Purdum, a writer for Vanity Fair, shows how that wasn't at all the case. EARLY WORK, by Andrew Martin. (Picador, $17.) An aimless, struggling young writer is undone by a love affair, but this intelligent debut novel is about more than the calamity of romance: Martin stuffs his narrative with a cast of compelling characters, many of them authors, as they negotiate their desires. Our reviewer, Molly Young, praised the book, calling it "a tidy and perfectly ornamented novel with no unsanded corners or unglossed surfaces." BRING THE WAR HOME: The White Power Movement and Paramilitary America, by Kathleen Belew. (Harvard University, $16.95.) Belew, a historian at the University of Chicago, traces the beginning of the radical right in America to the Vietnam War. The book makes the argument that the white power movement led to the deadly Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, which Belew sees as a reaction to the war. While much of the book draws on events from the 1970s and 1980s, it has particular resonance today. ALL THE NAMES THEY USED FOR GOD: Stories, by Anjali Sachdeva. (Spiegel & Grau, $17.) In tales that leap across the globe, characters struggle to reconcile their hopes and dreams with their fates. Our reviewer, Julie Orringer, praised the collection, writing, "The brilliance of these stories - beyond the cool, precise artistry of their prose - is their embrace of both the known and the unknown, in a combination that feels truly original." NO ONE TELLS YOU THIS: A Memoir, by Glynnis MacNicol. (Simon & Schuster, $17.) Childless, single and in her 40s, MacNicol had a grim thought - that she had officially become "the wrong answer to the question of what made a woman's life worth living." Her smart memoir celebrates women who forge their own paths, ignoring the cultural scripts they've been handed.
Copyright (c) The New York Times Company [July 14, 2019]
Review by Booklist Review
Sachdeva's striking story collection, her first book, explores everyday conflicts in highly imaginative ways. In shifting place and time, characters are confounded by the tidal pull of love and loss as well as the disruptive forces of change. Logging Lake follows a man in the aftermath of heartbreak as he goes on a spur-of-the-moment camping trip with an unusual woman he meets online. In Anything You Might Want, Gina, disillusioned with her town and her father's strict upbringing, runs away with Michael, who owes her father a significant gambling debt, a trip that takes an unexpected turn when they make a stop in Michael's hometown. Other tales embrace the otherworldly an America governed by aliens, a fisherman with a growing obsession over a mermaid. Pleiades follows septuplets who become mysteriously ill and begin to die one by one in a haunting tale that pits the marvels of science against the power of the heart. Though some of Sachdeva's nine tales bend into the surreal, they never lose the pulse of the human spirit, creating a distinctive, thought-provoking work.--Strauss, Leah Copyright 2018 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The nine stories in Sachdeva's intriguing debut collection raise challenging questions about human responses to short-circuited desires. Equally at home in realistic and speculative plots, Sachdeva crafts precise character studies with minimal flourishes. "Anything You Might Want" follows the quick crumbling of the relationship between the daughter of a rich, controlling Montana magnate and an indebted miner, and her tantalizing opportunity for revenge. "Robert Greenman and the Mermaid" also focuses on an unwise emotional attachment, bringing together a laconic fisherman and an actual mermaid who nets his ship the largest catches in years. Some stories are creative riffs on historic events, including the title story, in which two kidnapping victims of Boko Haram discover a quasimagical form of hypnosis that can control men. Others, such as "Manus," point to alarming futures, in which aliens have conquered earth without upsetting life too much-other than requiring all humans replace their hands with metal prosthetics. The most affecting story, "Pleiades," updates the hubris of Greek tragedy: the inexplicable illnesses of genetically modified septuplets undercut their parents' faith in science. Throughout, characters face a perpetual constraint against full expression of their emotions. These inventive stories will challenge readers to rethink how people cope with thwarted hopes. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review
DEBUT In the best stories in this smooth collection, individuals longing for something better face adversity and keep moving. An albino girl in the American West loses her parents, marries a charming drifter who loves her but decides to continue his travels, then teeters at the edge of a chasm, with people below calling, and falls "into their waiting arms." An ambitious young man leaves Denmark to "find a place where he could live with abandon," is horribly injured in a factory blast and sullenly accepts dependence on his young daughter, yet travels with her and her mentor to excavate ruins in Egypt. Two young African women kidnapped as teenagers by Muslim extremists return home, having learned to get what they want. Indeed, adversity can teach you things; a man determined to be new at the dating game has a disastrous camping experience (the nutty woman whose invitation he accepted has disappeared) and decides he was happier with his old self. VERDICT Not all these stories startle, but Sachdeva is a writer to watch. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
So rich they read like dreamsor, more often, nightmaresthe nine stories in Sachdeva's otherworldly debut center upon the unforgiving forces that determine the shape of our lives, as glorious as they are brutal."Wonder and terror meet at the horizon, and we walk the knife-edge between them," Sachdeva writes in her brief introduction; this is the world of her stories. There are no merciless gods here, not like in the olden days; instead, there is "science, nature, psychology, industry." But these modern forces are as vast and incomprehensible as any gods were. The stories that follow span time, space, and logic: Nigeria and New Hampshire, the past and the future, realism and science fiction. And yet, for all its scope, it is a strikingly unified collection, with each story reading like a poem, or a fable, staring into the unknowable. In "The World by Night," a lonely young woman in the Ozarks is abandonedtemporarily, and then foreverby her husband and finds dangerous refuge in a secret cave. "Logging Lake" follows a man in the midst of a post-breakup reinvention on the haunting date that will change the course of his life (whatever you're thinking, that's not it). "All the Names for God" follows two Nigerian women now forging "normal" adult lives after having been kidnapped as teens by extremists, their unimaginable history intertwined with the struggles of acclimating to the world they used to know. Equal parts cinematic and nauseating, the dystopian "Manus" is set in a world invaded by alien "Masters," who demand, as part of their dominion, that human citizens undergo "re-handing"a painless procedure that replaces hands with metal forks, required for everyone, sooner or later. They are enormous stories, not in length but in ambition, each an entirely new, unsparing world.Beautiful, drainingand entirely unforgettable. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.