THE DANGEROUS SUMMER

'Contento Ernesto?' he asked. 'Muy contento.' 'So am I,' he said. 'You saw how he [the bull] was? You saw everything about him?' 'I think so,' I said. 'Let's eat at Fraga.' 'Good.' 'Be careful on the road.' 'see you in Fraga,' I said." Thus the great matador Antonio Ordonez in conversation with Papa Hemingway after a brilliant performance in Barcelona. Hemingway fanticos may relish such moments of self-parody (there are many others) in this account of the duel, over the summer of 1959, between Ordonez and Luis Mignel Dominguin; few others will. The text is a whittled-down version (45,000 words from 70,000) of an article commissioned by the old Life. It has a long, loving introduction by James Michener (who calls The Old Man and the Sea an "incandescent miracle") and a glossary of bullfight terms taken from Death in the Afternoon (1932). The Hemingway we find here is old, tired, and writing from mechanical instinct. He befriends Ordonez, whom he passionately admires (though they call one another socio to minimalize sticky emotions), and whose ultimate victory over Dominguin he can't help savoring. The air is as thick with machismo as a sweaty locker room. Bullfighting, Papa says, is "worthless without rivalry." He is indignant over shaving the bull's horns and other danger-lessening gimmicks. He describes all the cornadas Antonio and Luis Miguel receive, with grim fascination. He shoots lighted cigarettes out of Antonio's mouth with a .22 rifle. He warns against bringing one's wife to Pamplona: "You'll probably lose her to a better man than you." Though he professes to be still enraptured by the corridas, his accounts of them grind monotonously. By contrast, his feel for the Spanish landscape is sometimes acute, although by now it evokes no political memories. With another byline, this would be readable if self-indulgent stuff; with Hemingway's, just further evidence of artistic and personal exhaustion.

Pub Date: June 24, 1985

ISBN: 0684837897

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1985

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

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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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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