Tapestry: Strands of Yellow and Blue

BOOK I

This debut medieval romance sees a traumatized teen regain her passion for life, with the help of a man haunted by his own tragic past.
In 1122, in the kingdom of Blinth, a young teen runs in panic through the woods before finally collapsing. She awakens next to a stag that tells her that the men following her are friendly and that she should go with them in order to heal the cuts on her feet. Tristam, the leader of the hunting party, carries her to King Stefan’s castle. However, once her fever breaks, she finds herself unable to speak or remember anything about her past. Tristam names her Grace and takes a personal interest in her recovery. He’s still healing as well, after losing his wife and daughter in the woods years ago, and he grows closer to the foreign girl at the risk of his own reputation. Eventually, Grace starts communicating through sign language, going to school, and enjoying close friendships inside and outside the castle. But both she and Tristam sense a tragedy in her past that she’s blocked out completely. Will their deepening bond help or hinder her full recovery? Arnold sets her incredibly layered narrative in a Christian kingdom while offering mystery, romance and a parable on the power of healing. The chapters alternate between Tristam’s and Grace’s first-person accounts, and the author emphasizes the sense of touch throughout, characterized by tender dignity: “I go to him,” says Grace, “and wrap him in my arms as best I can. I stroke his hair. I kiss his brow.” However, this is also a story about healing from sexual abuse, and Arnold handles the traumatic subject with exceptional realism, particularly when she depicts Grace’s oscillation between isolation and acceptance. Splendid secondary characters, such as Becca and Geneva, keep the tale from becoming too dour. Grace’s headmaster provides moments of wisdom, as when she tells Grace in a moment of doubt, “[M]any times those who are different are indeed our brightest.” Plenty of court intrigue and a stunning twist at the end could bring readers back for a sequel.
A glowing, potent fantasy tale for teens and adults.

Pub Date: July 12, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-936447-06-0

Page Count: 318

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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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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