A rousing story of love and sacrifice.

LEGENDARY

Kibbie’s (Rustle, 2017) novel follows a British gay couple who explore their pasts to make peace with their present.

In London, small-business accountant James Wilde and his partner, Arthur Pensinger, a construction worker, are in love but fear for their safety daily. They tell no one of their union; they’re simply “two lads sharing the rent” to the outside world, because “if anyone knew the truth, they would go to jail.” The men acquire their first television, truly a luxury item, in order to witness British history in motion as Queen Elizabeth II is crowned. The men soon learn of the heartbreaking death of their close friend Harold Marlin, the butler to wealthy Baroness Lady Barlow who’d cared for them as children, many years prior. James and Arthur evacuated London to avoid the Nazi bombings during World War II, and they were taken in at the baroness’s Willowind House. Harold’s dying wish spurs James and Arthur to travel to Scotland to investigate whether the now-deceased baroness’s suicidal son Matthew is still alive. With eccentric, hard-drinking landlady Viola Wylit and Harold’s grandson, Lance, along for the ride, the men begin digging into Matthew’s past. Over the course of this historical novel, Kibbie displays a talent for characterization, and he also exhibits a firm grasp of British conversational style as well as common colloquialisms, which add an air of authenticity to an already engrossing story. Even more enticing are the flashbacks that reveal details of James’ and Arthur’s childhoods. A sense of suspense and mystery propel the narrative forward, which eventually results in surprising confessions and an emotional reunion. Overall, it’s an ambitious, dynamic debut.

A rousing story of love and sacrifice.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947041-32-5

Page Count: 276

Publisher: Running Wild Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 15

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • National Book Award Finalist

A LITTLE LIFE

Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

Did you like this book?

more