This graphic novel adaptation is a must-read for any fan of Kafka's Metamorphosis. Kuper's scratchboard illustrations brilliantly express Kafka's sense of nightmarish unreality. While the text is spare, Kuper's graphic novel is nonetheless a faithful rendition rather than an illustrated abridgment, and the visuals are eloquent and impactful.
Jazz Dent is everything anyone would want in a teenage boy. He’s charming, he’s likeable, and he’s smart. There’s just one thing. His father, Billy Dent, murdered 123 (124 by Jazz’ count) people and is currently serving out over thirty life sentences. Jazz knows more than even the cops about his father’s kills – for Jazz, every day was Take Your Son to Work Day. Despite all this, however, Jazz has a beautiful girlfriend, a hilarious best friend, and fantastic grades. Then suddenly bodies start piling up in his small town – nearly perfectly imitating his father’s first few murders. Jazz offers his services to the police, hoping to clear his name, but the deeper he gets into the murders, the more Jazz grapples with the possibility that he is more like his father than he thinks.
The kind of gripping mystery that makes you want to wipe your memory and re-read, I Hunt Killers will leave you chilled and pawing for the sequel.
In these eight loosely connected stories, Otto portrays the lives and struggles of eight women photographers through the 20th century. Six of the eight are based on real photographers, including Ruth Orkin; Imogene Cunningham; and Lee Miller, and astute readers will recognize their lives and works in these fictionalized tales. All eight women are interesting and bohemian, ahead of their time in many ways; they take lovers of both genders, travel the world, get caught up in wars and revolutions. But at the same time, all struggle to balance their creative impulses and careers as artists with their domestic roles as wives and mothers.
As the stories continue, some may feel that the eight women are insufficiently differentiated, their lives and inner thoughts so similar, their struggles much the same despite differing time periods and differing countries. But in this similarity perhaps lies Otto’s underlying point in portraying these eight women…the more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite decades of social change and the groundbreaking women who have come before, the later women still face the same struggles as their predecessors.
After his mother is struck by a bus and killed, 16 year old straight-A student Joey Crouch boards a bus to Bloughton, Iowa, to live with his estranged father Ken Harnett. Known in town as the Garbageman, Harnett is neither an idea father nor roommate. His small house is unkempt, full of newspaper stacks and a strong odor; Harnett himself disappears for days at a time, leaving Joey with no food or money.
After discovering a safe full of putrid jewels in his father’s closet, Joey follows Harnett one night, stowing away in the bed of his pickup with a disposable camera. Forgetting about the consequence of a flash late at night, Joey snaps a photo: “Everything was illuminated in one instant of motionless clarity: individual blades of tall grass, bugs caught in the air like thrown pebbles, the mirrored surface of the truck, my father, his stunned expression, the handheld wire cutter, the sparkle of multiple jeweled rings, and, clenched in my father’s fist, wearing these rings, a severed human hand. … My father is a grave robber.”
Unlike most teens who catch a parent red-handed robbing a grave, Joey wants nothing more than to join his father. Though initially hesitant and refusing, Harnett begins to train Joey in the art of digging – burying Joey’s homework assignments or shoes deep beneath the earth hours before the start of school, lecturing on the art and history of grave robbing as Joey digs.
Obviously not a hot topic in contemporary literature for any age, Kraus writes about grave robbing a little too realistically for comfort – all the while providing mystery, intrigue, and the intricate exploration of a powerful connection between father and son. At times, this subterranean novel is graphic, horrific, and downright gooey, but Kraus’ unforgettable writing strengthens the allure of this dark, multilayered world of bullies young and old, live and dead, and of fathers and sons, in a way that keeps the pages turning.
The roaring twenties meet the occult in this latest hit from accomplished teen author Libba Bray. When aspiring flapper, Evie, gets herself in trouble in her small Ohio town, she is sent to live with her uncle who runs the rundown Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult in New York. But Evie is more than just your run-of-the-mill trouble maker, she has a gift: she is able to see your secrets just from holding an object belonging to you. Little does she know that she is not alone in the city and that soon, she and others will have to face and defeat a frightening enemy, Naughty John, a religious zealot who has been reincarnated and is now carrying out series of gruesome murders to complete his transformation.
Bray is a masterful storyteller and she “pos-i-tute-ly” brings Evie to life, along with a sprawling cast of characters. Wonderfully descriptive with a fast-moving plot, teens and adults alike will enjoy this period fantasy/thriller/mystery/romance; believe me, it really has it all.
For her next book after bestselling hit,Room, Donoghue draws inspiration from a handful of historical newspaper articles and stories, creating a collection of short narratives that are remarkably engrossing, despite their length. Using lushly drawn backdrops, she dramatically explores the themes of loss, struggle, love, grace and determination, all which accompany the strikingly rich characters who are adrift in time and place, detached from their roots; gone astray. In “Onward”, a Victorian Londoner decides prostitution is the only way to keep her family afloat while in “The Widow’s Curse” that empathy is upturned when readers encounter a beautiful woman who cons a young lawyer in order to obtain her living husband’s fortune in 18th-century New York. It is amazing how Donoghue brings these long-forgotten figures back to life in order to tell their stories with such heart. Although a departure from her last thriller, Donoghue returns to her other specialty as a historical storyteller in Astray.
Nine-year-old Jess Hall was watching though a crack in the wall when the members of his mother’s church, the River Road Church of Christ, attempted to heal Jess’s mute older brother, nicknamed Stump. The church members, accustomed to snake-handling and speaking in tongues under the guidance of their horribly scarred pastor Carson Chambliss, used a laying-on-of-hands that half-crushed the boy until Jess called out his mother’s name in fear. So when his mother takes Stump back to the church for a special evening service and Stump winds up dead, Jess knows how it happened, and knows who he blames—himself. When he cried out, everyone thought it was Stump, proof the healing was working. If he’d told the truth, would his brother be dead? But Jess is the only one blaming himself; Sheriff Barefield, who investigates the crime, and elderly midwife and healer Adelaide Lyle, who watches the church’s children on Sundays to keep them away from the snakes, both blame Carson Chambliss, a preacher as evil and manipulative as they come. So does Jess’s father, who has turned to drink in his grief. When shocking revelations about Carson Chambliss come to the fore, the situation becomes explosive.
Narrated in turns by Jess, Barefield, and Adelaide, this darkly Southern gothic tale of religious frenzy, small-town life, and the power of belief is evocative and compelling.
The small kingdom of Aydori is at war, under threat from outside by the sprawling Kresentian empire. Within the cities near the border, life as usual continues on in the face of battle, with parties and operas and young women trying to catch the eyes—or noses—of the unmarried nobles—who are all either werewolves (known as the Pack) or mages. One such young woman is the, by her own admission, eminently sensible Mirian Maylin. Mirian has recently been sent home by the university because her magecraft was deemed to be too scattered and low-level to ever be useful. But any thoughts of marriage or society are derailed when the battle at the border begins to go against the Aydori and the city empties. However, the mad Kresentian Emperor has sent a small force into Aydori under cover of battle to capture the mages foreseen by prophecy to be instrumental in either the rise or the fall of his empire. All five of the captured mages are women, all are pregnant, and all are married to the Pack’s leaders. By chance, Mirian finds herself, along with young werewolf Tomas Hagen—youngest brother of the Pack Leader—the only hope the captured mages have of rescue. But she herself is the sixth mage foretold, and as the two young heroes race deep into enemy territory, facing danger at every step, Mirian’s supposedly weak mage-craft begins acting strangely…
Steampunk-of-manners meets high fantasy meets werewolf saga in Huff’s fascinating newest title. The Silvered is seamlessly constructed and fascinatingly original, and sequels are to be hoped for!
In 1925, unappreciated museum employee Irene Blum heads to Cambodia to make a name for herself. Passed over for the promotion to Brooke Museum curator Irene believes she more than deserves, Irene is motivated partly by a sense of revenge against the museum’s trustees and partly by her deep life-long passion for the culture and history of the vanished Khmer Empire. She has discovered, in the effects of her recently deceased father, a missionary’s journal from the 1800s which gives tantalizing clues about the location of an undiscovered temple in which rest copper scrolls containing the lost history of the Khmer. If Irene can find the scrolls and bring them back to America, her career will be made, her fame assured. On the advice of her mentor, Irene enlists the aid of the beautiful, intelligent, and mercurial Simone Merlin, a Cambodian scholar in her own right but also a drug addict and the wife of an abusive Communist-supporter. Joined by others as her quest proceeds, Irene must make her way through the shadowy Shanghai underground and into the politically fraught jungles of Cambodia itself, pursued at every turn and hampered by secrets that begin rising to the fore.
A literary take on a sort of female Indiana Jones, The Map of Lost Memoriesis an exhilarating page-turner with fully-formed characters, well-described settings, and beautiful writing. Recommended.
As the half-sister, aunt, and great grand-aunt respectively of the last three Japanese Emperors, the princess Harueme has lived a very long, very privileged life. Now elderly and dying, she is preparing to leave the court for a convent. This necessitates the packing up or destroying of her lifetime of belongings. In this process, she comes upon a stack of empty notebooks and feels compelled to fill them. Harueme’s story begins as a monogatari tale, or traditional Japanese epic, about a young female cat whose entire feline family is killed, sending her on a long, mythic journey across Japan. In the course of this journey, a kami, or spirit, changes the cat into a girl. But as Harueme writes her story, a story about a life so very different from her own sheltered and carefully pruned existence, she begins interspersing reflections and memories of her own long life and the many ways her life has both fulfilled and disappointed her. The two stories weave together to create a vivid, gloriously textured view of both Japanese traditional folklore and 12th century Japanese culture.
Gorgeously written, with two compelling main characters in the tamed princess Harueme and the untamable cat-girl, Fudoki is luminous and absorbing. Highly recommended.