DANCING LESSONS FOR THE ADVANCED IN AGE

From the irrepressible Czech writer Hrabal (I Served the King of England, 1989; Too Loud a Solitude, 1990) comes this pocket- sized, single-sitting love-letter to a worldand to a lifegone by. Readers of The Little Town Where Time Stood Still (1993) will recognize the speaker here (though unnamed) as the same life-loving and mischievous Uncle Pepin who, in that novel, ``went to visit my brother for two weeks and stayed for thirty years.'' This time around, Uncle Pepin''pushing seventy''delivers a monologue to a group of ``young ladies,'' a certain type of ``beauties'' with whom the monologuist has had many an acquaintance over the years. So what's he telling them now, as he looks all the way back to ``the days of the monarchy'' under the Hapsburgs? In good part, no more than bragging about his own high old exploits in the fields of romance, the military, and drink. But there's another side to it, too, the book being also a kind of advice-manual: ``...what I'm giving you now, young ladies, are like windows on the world, points, goals, scores,'' he says near the start, going on to cite not only from memory (``what a memory I have!'') but also from ``Mr. Batista's book on sexual hygiene'' and from ``Anna Nov†kov†'s dream book.'' All three sources are unceasingly wonderful and rich as the young girls learn, among much else, that ``if you dreamed someone was pouring cucumbers over your head...it meant ardent love,'' and that even though the old days were often brutal, ``yet somehow people sang more.'' A short little book in a single long paragraph that holds the charm, gusto, and nostalgia of several lifetimes. Asks the speaker, ``the world is a beautiful place, don't you think?'' No reader will demur.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-15-123810-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1995

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

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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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

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