From the popular Czech writer (I Served the King of England, 1989; Too Loud a Solitude, 1990), two more novels filled with wit, life, hyperbole, history—and pathos. Long ago, a young wife named Mary has hair that's long and golden and a young husband, Francin, who's manager of a brewery in a little town where the beer is distributed by two big dray horses named Ede and Kare (who sometimes break away for a wild run, their hooves tossing sparks). Life goes on normally enough for the loving Mary and Francin until Uncle Pepin comes to visit (and stays for life)—after which comedy, cross-purposes, and happy (usually) misdirections become the rule. Uncle Pepin's very elements are life, energy, lust, swagger, and comic mischief, and between him and young Mary, a counterbalance to the more earnest if lovable Francin is formed, at least until new times come around, radio is invented, styles change, and ``Everything is going to have to be shortened''—including Mary's long golden hair, a loss by barbering that turns life upside down, at least for a minute or two. So ends Cutting It Short, succeeded by The Little Town Where Time Stood Still, which opens eight years later, looks backward into history under Austria's rule while coming forward through WW II, and finds Uncle Pepin's spirit pitiably waning as Francin's waxes—and as Communism arrives ``and some other kind of time began.'' Francin's old love of motors and trucks will give him a happy new life as distributor of vegetables and other goods—until an empty militarism brings calamity, followed by the piteous death of the faded Uncle Pepin and, from Hrabal, a concluding elegy for times past and gone that ranks with the most sweetly moving ever—period. Lyric, poetic, political novels so entirely filled with imagination and life—and tears—that they burst wonderfully and gloriously at the seams.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 1993

ISBN: 0-679-42225-0

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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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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