An often charming, if lightweight, tale with memorable characters and a tender love story.

No Greater Love

When a Turkish immigrant and a Dutch psychiatrist fall in love, a devastating diagnosis threatens to separate them forever in Field’s (Lattices of Love, 2015, etc.) latest romance.

On a cold winter night in western New York, psychiatrist Pieter Bentinck heads toward a liquor store looking for a bottle of premium Dutch gin for his mentor, Dr. Carl Ahren. There, he encounters a woman whose striking beauty leaves him breathless. Upon arriving at Carl’s home, Pieter discovers that the mysterious woman frequently stays there. Her name is Janan Coers, and Carl’s family adopted her after she was orphaned by an earthquake in her native Turkey. Pieter and Janan have both given up on finding love, but they feel a connection to each other that’s soon tested when Pieter is diagnosed with leukemia. On the eve of his return to Amsterdam, they spend an evening together, during which Pieter tempts Janan with eight tantalizing kisses. Later, she faces a dilemma when she learns she’s pregnant with twins. When Carl decides to return to his home country, he makes an offer that would provide security for Janan and the babies. But her choice could put a future with Pieter at risk. Field’s fast-paced romance features a compelling central love story and well-developed protagonists; their relationship develops quickly but never seems forced or contrived. But a promising subplot involving one of the supporting characters needs more detail. Although Carl drives much of the narrative, his story is less successful; he’s a Dutch Jew who was sent to America prior to the outbreak of World War II, and he’s struggling to reclaim his family’s home and fortune and concerned about the motives of his great-nephew, Arnold. However, it’s unclear whether Arnold truly has ulterior motives, as he’s only mentioned in passing.

An often charming, if lightweight, tale with memorable characters and a tender love story.

Pub Date: March 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68921-077-5

Page Count: 184

Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2016

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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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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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