Book Reviews & Giveaway: Next

Author James Hynes

Kevin is just a regular, middle aged guy turning 50.  His girlfriend Stella is 35, so he considers himself lucky.  As he sits on a flight from Ann Arbor, Michigan to Austin Texas for a job interview he has told no one about, he speculates.  The terrorists that will bomb the plane –the Asian babe sitting next to him reading “The Joy Luck Club”; Lynda, his first love.

As he departs the concourse he realizes that no one knows where he is.  He has told no one that he is on a one day fly-in, fly-out interview – because he is fed up with his invisible job as an executive editor of publications at the Center for Asian Studies at the University of Michigan.  He is stuck.  In his job, in his love life.  Stella wants a child.  Kevin can’t imagine it.

As he reminices about his friend McNulty, 30 years ago, who worked with him at a video store, Kevin decides to follow Ms. Joy Luck Club who was sitting in the seat next to him.  His entire life unfolds in his mind as he wanders after Miss Joy Luck.  It is 10:00 am.  His interview with Hemphill Associates is at 2:00 pm.  He thinks about Beth, his sultry, funny ex-wife who left him to have children with another man.

The 8 hours in Kevin’s life that follow is the entire novel.  Being inside the mind of a 50 year old neurotic, narcissitic, but passioinate and tender Kevin as he faces obstacle after obstacle – in the excrutiating heat of Austin – who  he meets, where he ends up – proves that Mr. Hynes, in his Joycean manner, is a brilliant author.  Kevin is Daedalus, T.S. Eliot and the RoadRunner all wrapped up in one.

Hilarious, insightful, sad, hideous, the observant Kevin points us to all of our biggest fears and greatest loves.  The ending is simply magnificent, as Kevin reveals his heroic depth.  Absolutely wonderful writing and content.

Ratings are based on a 5-star scale

Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Presentation: 5
Overall: 5


Book Review by Broad “A” – Ava

Next is available for purchase at Amazon.com for $16.31

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