by E. Lynn Harris ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2010
A sudsy melodrama, to be sure, but one that offers a rare glimpse into the world of gay black men and the challenges they...
A posthumous novel from Harris (Mama Dearest, 2009, etc.), about gay black men seeking acceptance.
At the beginning, Bentley Dean III, scion to a wealthy black Detroit family, breaks off his engagement with the very suitable Kim in order to live an authentic life. And for Bentley that means out of the closet and in a public relationship with his lover Warren. Five years later Bentley is in Miami, disinherited by his homophobic father, dumped by Warren, who refuses to identify as gay, but nonetheless happy to be himself. He and his business partner Alex own an Afro-centric modeling agency (she handles the women, Bentley happily handles the men’s side, which offers the occasional midday treat). But the agency has seen better times; the economy is in free-fall just as the Obama election is coming up. Financial worries force Bentley to book a suspicious modeling assignment—a request for gay-friendly eye candy for a private party. Bentley is assured he won’t be inadvertently pimping out his models, but when he arrives at the all-male event, he suspects that he’ll regret the night. He brings along Jah, an 18 year old that Bentley found in foster care and has mentored over the years. Jah, now in college with noble plans, catches the eye of the host, Seth Sinclair. Married with kids, Seth is a Hollywood megastar with a secret penchant for boys and control. Jah soon gets caught in Seth’s dangerous web, and Bentley is wracked with guilt. Meanwhile, Warren and Bentley reconnect, though Bentley, still in love with Warren, suspects the man hasn’t changed and will always live the double life. All these men can’t compete with the one man Bentley wants back in his life—his father. The best of friends until he came out, Bentley misses his old man and is afraid one day it may be too late for a reconciliation.A sudsy melodrama, to be sure, but one that offers a rare glimpse into the world of gay black men and the challenges they face.
Pub Date: June 1, 2010
Page Count: 304
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online: Sept. 22, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2010
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
Awards & Accolades
Best Books Of 2015
National Book Award Finalist
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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by Harper Lee ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 11, 1960
A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.
Pub Date: July 11, 1960
Page Count: 323
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960
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