A multilayered family portrait set in Calcutta, London, and Dhaka. Ghosh sets aside the magic realism of his first novel (The Circle of Reason, 1986) to train his sights directly on the imagination and on the way it illuminates family myths. The transforming events explored by the narrator, a fervent Calcutta-born academic, all take place off-screen: they've been described by Tridib, the narrator's intoxicating older cousin; by his grandmother in the years before her death; and by a heavy-set British friend, May Price. Tridib re-creates WW II London for his wide-eyed cousin: "Tridib had given me worlds to travel in and he had given me eyes to see them with," the narrator recalls years later. His grandmother's longings to revisit her birthplace, Dhaka, were equally palpable. When her grandfather died, her father and his brother feuded and divided the crooked house down the middle. Throughout her childhood, the grandmother and her sister spun fantasies of "the upside down house," where the meals started with sweets and everyone slept under the beds. The grandmother discovers, in 1962, that her uncle, now ancient, is still alive and living in the house, protected from post-Partition violence by a sympathetic Muslim family. But it's only through May, who'd accompanied Tridib and the grandmother on their pilgrimage back, that the details surface of the riot in which Tridib was killed. The logic of the narrative is fascinating if chronologically confusing: one memory unfolds into another, as the narrator greedily patches it all into the rich crazy-quilt of his own identity. But while the effects are showy, the story is real: the people are compelling, and the ways that global events push into lovingly choreographed private lives are deftly delineated. In all, a revealing—and rewarding—excavation of a family's memory lodes.

Pub Date: March 19, 1989

ISBN: 670-82633-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


Passion, friendship, heartbreak, and forgiveness ring true in Lovering's debut, the tale of a young woman's obsession with a man who's "good at being charming."

Long Island native Lucy Albright, starts her freshman year at Baird College in Southern California, intending to study English and journalism and become a travel writer. Stephen DeMarco, an upperclassman, is a political science major who plans to become a lawyer. Soon after they meet, Lucy tells Stephen an intensely personal story about the Unforgivable Thing, a betrayal that turned Lucy against her mother. Stephen pretends to listen to Lucy's painful disclosure, but all his thoughts are about her exposed black bra strap and her nipples pressing against her thin cotton T-shirt. It doesn't take Lucy long to realize Stephen's a "manipulative jerk" and she is "beyond pathetic" in her desire for him, but their lives are now intertwined. Their story takes seven years to unfold, but it's a fast-paced ride through hookups, breakups, and infidelities fueled by alcohol and cocaine and with oodles of sizzling sexual tension. "Lucy was an itch, a song stuck in your head or a movie you need to rewatch or a food you suddenly crave," Stephen says in one of his point-of-view chapters, which alternate with Lucy's. The ending is perfect, as Lucy figures out the dark secret Stephen has kept hidden and learns the difference between lustful addiction and mature love.

There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-6964-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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

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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

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