Inspired personal journeys that, even when traversing other worlds, stay grounded in the one readers know.

A Dream of India


In this debut collection of short stories, characters experience spiritual awakenings through dreams and reminiscences.

An epiphany, it seems, can come about by simply remembering. Such is the case for the unnamed narrator of “Gravel and Fern,” who perceives his wife in an entirely different light only after she’s dead. Memory is often a catalyst in these tales, ultimately sparking Vietnamese soldier Steele’s religious turn in “Gold Leaf” or prefacing the shocking event that befalls Uccello, a baker recalling someone he’s lost, in “Dough.” Characters find insight in dreams as well, dream imagery that Frode generally augments with something more tangible. Nathan of “In the Darkness of the Dark Night,” for example, has a vision of falling stars that he later sees as helicopters—like an invading Army. Metaphors are unsubtle but never clumsily so, such as the serene “Levees,” in which a monk, Brother Paul, watching the flooding of orchards he tends, is flooded with recollections of lost loved ones. In the same vein, real-world elements that usually accompany the stories’ spirituality are both suitable and engrossing; in “Above the Tree Line,” an overnight backpacking trip up a mountain is just as therapeutic for the doctor as it is for the patient. There is, however, occasional repetition: “Spice,” in which Herbert’s beloved, memory-triggering spices are opposed by his hateful stepfather, Frank, is immediately followed by “Iridescence,” with Carl seriously contemplating killing his own abusive stepfather, Chet. Frode recurrently lingers on descriptive passages, as many characters lament the past, including Brother Clayton, who in “Clay Bodies” focuses on a pottery wheel, its precision reminding him of his days as a mathematics professor. The writing’s steeped in lyricism, regardless of content: sights at the farmers’ market in “Slow” entail “thin Botox women carrying Chihuahua dogs in their bared skeletal arms, an ultimate fighter type hazarding a leashed but prohibited pit bull through the crowd,” and so on. The book closes with “The Door Maker,” in which the dream-motivated title character tries to build a door to various dimensions. It’s a befitting conclusion, blurring the line between reality and mysticism.

Inspired personal journeys that, even when traversing other worlds, stay grounded in the one readers know.

Pub Date: July 21, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-312-54537-3

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Lulu

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

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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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