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Book reviews for "Hynes,_James" sorted by average review score:

The Wild Colonial Boy
Published in Paperback by Washington Square Press (1992)
Authors: James Hynes and Jane Rosenman
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"Thoughtful thriller" about Northern Ireland's Troubles.
So timeless is James Hynes's story of IRA terrorism and the people it ensnares that I never suspected the book was originally written ten years ago and just recently reprinted--or that it was a first novel. Beautifully plotted and extremely sensitive to the differing viewpoints of those who seek to reunify the Six Counties with the rest of the Ireland, the novel offers a fresh look at the continued violence, those who plan it, those who support it indirectly through their inaction, those whose financial contributions allow it to affect successive generations, and those who oppose it. Hynes is particularly adept at reducing the complexities of IRA internal politics to manageable levels so that the plot speeds along, sweeping up the reader in the excitement of the moment, just as the main characters are swept up in the emotional rollercoaster of their struggles.

Brian Donovan is a twenty-year-old American delegated by his grandfather, an Irishman who fled the country after he assassinated a British policemen many years ago, to take $10,000 to Irish relatives engaged in IRA activities. A callow young man with no sense of purpose or commitment, he is easy prey for those who would use his ability to cross borders at will to further their own goals. His cousin Maire supports the IRA's new, more moderate position by being elected Sinn Fein city councillor from West Belfast, speaking out and collecting funds, such as those from her relatives in the U.S. Her extremist husband, Jimmy Coogan, however, feels that the moderate position is a sellout. He's stolen 10 pounds of plastique explosives and intends to "make a statement" when the moderate Provos have their national conference. He intends to use Brian to help him.

Hynes's depiction of Brian and Clare, the equally young American girlfriend Brian acquires in his travels, is spot-on. Having never had to deal with the hard truths, Brian and Clare are naïve, looking at the deadly predicament in which they find themselves as if it were part of a virtual reality game. As the conflicts within the IRA become more and more violent, the reader waits for Brian, a Guinness-drinking fun seeker, to grow up and take a stand. A thrilling and exciting can't-put-it-downer, this novel goes beyond the all-or-nothing conflicts we've come to associate with The Troubles in Northern Ireland and IRA violence in England. Here we also come to know some of the real, flawed humans from all sides who've become involved, however unwittingly--often by making emotional, rather than rational, choices about life-and-death issues. As the struggle reaches its violent culmination here, freedom and responsibility take on new meaning.

Wild Idealism
Brian Donovan, The Wild Colonial Boy of James Hynes novel is a footloose idealistic soul who has long worshiped his grandfathers revolutionary roots. Donovan's grandfather was long ago forced to flee to America because of his activity in the IRA. He has continued to support it. When he finds he needs a courier to deliver $10,000 to the IRA, Brian willingly obliges. Brian sees this as an adventure of a life and soon finds out that it is more of an adventure than he anticipated. Jimmy Coogan, Brian's cousins husband and a violent extremist who is on the outs with the moderates of the IRA, forces Brian to assist him in the delivery of explosive plastique.

Along the way Brian meets Clare another young American, who he is romantically interested in. The two become caught up in a dangerous game with varying factions of the IRA. Clearly Brian's idealism and mythism about the IRA have not prepared him for the harsh realities which coexist in Ireland today. Brian is a boy playing a man's game and ill-prepared for the test of courage that he faces in making crucial moral decisions.

Clare and Brian serve as symbols of contrasting visions of morality and courage. Both are young and idealistic, but they have different ideals of loyalty, courage and ethics. It is interesting to follow them on their journey to see their evolving definitions of these issues. The tale is a very exciting one, but a very real one in which young people in Ireland today have to face these decisions on a daily basis. It is clear from the novel that the average American has little understanding of the scope of the movement.

I suggest this book for reading for anyone who enjoys a tale of adventure or who is interested in Ireland today.

James Hynes's debut novel is a political thriller set in the British Isles. Like all his books, it's a swift read with a perfect balance between dialogues, description and commentary. Snip: (...)

Transition Mathematics (University of Chicago School Mathematics Project)
Published in Hardcover by Prentice Hall (K-12) (1990)
Authors: Zalman Usiskin, James Flanders, Cathy Hynes, Lydia Polonsky, and S Porter
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Wonderful addition to school curriculum!
We have used the Transition Mathematics book at our school in 6th grade. The content explores different approaches to standard math exercises while maintaining an engaging foundation of math fundamentals. This is a wonderful book and has fit perfectly with the rest of our curriculum. Good job!

The Lecturer's Tale
Published in Hardcover by Picador (2001)
Author: James Hynes
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Spot-On and Very Funny
Once I began reading this hilarious book, I found it very difficult to put it down. It's one of the most enjoyable campus novels I've read in a while. Hynes's delicious, entertaining parodies of contemporary academics are, alas, spot-on: he's merciless when satirizing their narcissism, egomania, and jargon. A reader below said that the novel is an exaggerated version of academic life today, but that just shows that some readers are so absurdly literalist they can't recognize a satire even when it hits them over the head! The pity is that truth occasionally is stranger than this fiction. Hynes could have upped the ante still further, in other words, and he'd still be missing some of the more ridiculous aspects of academic life today. If only English professors weren't so easy to parody!

Fortunately for Hynes's readers, they are--and in this novel amusingly easy to identify. The ending is an obvious allegory--it clearly isn't meant to be taken literally, but the warning it conveys has a useful kick to it. Perhaps it might diminish some of the smugness of the people Hynes satirizes. Let's hope so.

Hynes Scores a Bull's-Eye
Hynes's previous book, "Publish and Perish," was an academic satire like "The Lecturer's Tale," but "P & P" had stronger supernatural elements, and in any case was composed of three discrete novellas. "The Lecturer's Tale" has more than a touch of the supernatural, too--indeed, spookiness is an essential part of the plot--but as a novel it's more of a unified whole, and consequently succeeds brilliantly as pure satire, with or without ghosts. In its merciless mockery of modern academic trends--literary theory, deconstruction, identity politics, and the like--and in its shrewd understanding of human ambition and the absurd machinations people resort to for the sake of promotion, fame, and the respect of others, "The Lecturer's Tale" stands head and shoulders above others in the genre. It makes Hynes a worthy claimant to the late Malcolm Bradbury's mantle as the dean of academic satirists. It certainly made this reader wary of ever having anything to do with university English departments. Yet, despite its mockery, it's not a mean-spirited book. Hynes is a compassionate writer, sometimes excessively so; indeed, one of the book's few weaknesses is the extent to which he occasionally bends over backward to demonstrate even-handedness, setting up somewhat clichéd villains such as the sexist drunken Irish bard and the supercilious old-school Jewish intellectual as if to emphasize the objectivity of his satirical vision elsewhere. But these are quibbles. Overall, "The Lecturer's Tale" is a masterpiece of plotting, satire, and storytelling, and a real page-turner to boot, with one or two comic sequences reminiscent not only of Bradbury but of Kingsley Amis at his most incisive.

Satire of a Wounded Ego
This is, without a doubt, the best satire of academia I have ever read. Luckily, I spent four years at college in the Eastern United States, so I can really understand Hynes' characters and their dilemmas.

You can't get much more cynical than Hynes does in The Lecturer's Tale. This book is, by turns, dark, delirious, hilarious and wicked. The protagonist is mild-mannered Nelson Humboldt, a visiting assistant professor in English at "Midwest University." When it comes to career choices, Nelson proved to be the ultimate fence sitter, straddling poststructuralism on the one side and traditionalism on the other. Nelson's days of fence sitting, however, are about to come to an end.

At Midwest, Nelson loves to spend his time sitting in the library's old clock tower (read Ivory Tower) where the university chooses to keep all the novels by "dead, white males." He keeps rereading and reresearching books and articles he knows he will never publish, although he chooses not to face that fact--just yet.

After being unceremoniously fired, by a female no less, Nelson is involved in a freak accident under the clock tower in which his right index finger is severed. Once it is reattached, Nelson makes the grand discovery that it (and thus he) have the power to make others do exactly as he wishes. Nelson beings to plot the very thing he thinks he wishes for the most--his return (in a blaze of glory) to "Midwest."

I think Hynes blames some of Nelson's problems on feminism. It is no accident that the book's two leading female protagonists have names that begin with the letter "V," Victoria Victorinix and Vita (whose very name means "life"), a strong proponent of gender theory whose own gender can certainly be called into question. It is also no mistake that the new library, the library where all the modern theorists are housed, is shaped in the form of a large letter "V." In fact, Nelson likes to contemplate this V-shaped annex, but only when safely tucked away in the ivory citadel of the old clock tower.

Does Nelson get what he wants? Sort of. Sort of, yes and sort of, no. Let's just say that when he wins, it is not traditionalism that produces his victories and when he loses, it is not poststructuralism that produces his loss. There is yet another evil on the horizon, one that Nelson never counted on battling. Ultimately, Nelson gets what Nelson deserves.

Those who thought Hynes let his readers down with the ending probably haven't spent much time in English or Comparative Literature Departments. The ending is absolutely perfect and epitomizes just what is going on in universities all across the United States today. If you love the book, but just don't understand the end, ask an English major. This is really too good to miss.

Hynes' writing is a delight. This is real satire, dark and cynical, but hilarious, too. I found myself laughing uproariously at the thought of all my former literature professors scowling at the recognition of themselves in Hynes' characters.

If you love satire, black comedy, or have any familiarity at all with university life, read The Lecturer's Tale. It really doesn't get any better than this.

Publish and Perish: Three Tales of Tenure and Terror
Published in Paperback by Picador (1998)
Author: James Hynes
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Tales for nonacademics too.....
PUBLISH AND PERISH is a good read although I did not find it as chilling as some mysteries, including those by P.D. James and Patricia Cornwall. This book is scary in places and if you suffer from phobias (heights and closed in spaces) or find cruelty to animals offputting you might avoid it. Although the book contains three separate stories, they are interconnected and deconstructed so that bits of stories #1 and #2 are partly told in #3. Story #3 is by far the best, so don't put the book down until you read "Casting the Runes." Some academics may think excessive competition, back-stabbing, and treachery are found only in their world. As former member of both the corporate and political worlds (I worked for the U.S. Congress), and one who spent years in graduate school, I'd take academe any day. What makes offensive behaviour more noxious in an academic setting is that one believes educated people are more civilized and that they will behave better. They are not and they do not. One of my more interesting discoveries on leaving the academic world and learning to write text "ordinary" folks could read (elected officials and corporate executives) was that spilit infinitives don't really matter. The infinitive in Latin and the Romance languages cannot be split, although I labored for ages with the belief that the construction of sentences in English must follow Latin rules of grammar. I love Latin and studied it for many years, but one day I realized English is a living language and there are many ways to speak and write English. Hynes makes fun of the academic world and with good cause. Sadly, parts of it are in grave danger of becoming totally irrelevant. Not science and math, but the what we used to call the Liberal Arts. What is truth? My advisor said when you realize that truth is the great unknown you are becoming educated. Hynes stretches the truth with his tales of horror, or does he? As for me, I'm learning to read the runes.

Ghosts in the ivory tower...
This book contains three novellas that marry the world of the classic ghost story with that of the academic ivory tower, seasoned by hefty doses of dark humor. Each story features a main character who is fighting for tenure and his or her professional academic career, and who, directly or indirectly, is suddenly plunged into the realm of the weird and otherworldly. Although the stories may seem familiar to devotees of the genre, the author is such a fine writer and so deft at characterization that they are a pleasure to read. My favorite by far is the first selection, "Queen of the Jungle," about a philandering professor and a cat determined to expose him.

Ghosts in the Academy
I received Hynes' book as a Christmas gift and initially thought it contained true horror stories from the academic world. I enjoyed the author's ability to mix the professor's world with the supernatural. I especially enjoyed the first and third stories because they were more clearly based in a college setting. The second story was somewhat obtuse and loaded with details I didn't find interesting. I agree with other reviewers who said the stories were somewhat predictable. I liked the blending of mystery, ghosts, and academic references. Hynes is a talented writer who engaged me completely in his plots. I will look for more work from him.

The O'Shaughnessys
Published in Unknown Binding by J.P. Hynes ()
Author: James P. Hynes
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Primer of Book-keeping (Decimalized Ed.): Answers to Exercises
Published in Paperback by Financial Times Prentice Hall (a Pearson Education company) (01 July, 1970)
Author: James Hynes
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Primer of Book-keeping: An Introductory and Preparatory Course of Lessons in the Principles of Book-keeping; with Exercises, Lists of Business Terms, and Specimen Commercial Forms
Published in Paperback by Pearson Professional Education (14 July, 1970)
Author: James Hynes
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Rites of Modernization: Symbolic and Social Aspects of Indonesian Proletarian Drama (Symbolic Anthropology)
Published in Paperback by University of Chicago Press (1987)
Authors: James L. Peacock and Dell Hynes
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White sheeted fort : a history of Guaire, the Hospitable, King of Connaught, and his descendants
Published in Unknown Binding by J.P. Hynes ()
Author: James P. Hynes
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