THE EYE OF THE STORY

SELECTED ESSAYS AND REVIEWS

The Eye of the Story is a challenging title. Miss Welty is concerned throughout this book with fiction, with fictions, and with how the process of writing turns truth into a novel or story. Analysis travels backwards, she says, but the writer works into the open. She makes the engaging assumption that her readers are as interested and knowledgeable about these problems as she is herself, and that they too will be glad when a story works, when an author succeeds. "Jane Austen loved high spirits, she had them herself, and she always rejoiced in the young." Of Ross Macdonald's The Underground Man: "what gives me special satisfaction about it is that no one but a good writer — this good writer — could possibly have brought it off." Other enthusiasms are Faulkner, Elizabeth Bowen, Isak Dinesen, and, from many years back, S.J. Perelman. Miss Welty can be tart, as when she judges Arthur Mizener's book on Ford Maddox Ford inadequate—because Ford deserved a better book. The last, purely personel section includes her introduction to a cookbook of Jackson recipes and the preface to a collection of her own Mississippi photographs, One Time, One Place, as well as several vignettes of local scenes. In "Some Notes on River Country," we see "the little chain of lost towns between Vicksburg and Natchez" where "the houses merge into a shaggy fringe at the foot of the bluff." In the childhood memoir "The Little Store" she tells us: "I believed the Little Store to be a center of the outside world, and hence of happiness—as I believed what I found in the Crackerjack box to be a genuine prize, which was as simply as I believed in the Golden Fleece." These pieces clarify Eudora Welty's presence: in life, as in her writings, she is self-possessed but never self-absorbed.

Pub Date: April 28, 1978

ISBN: 0679730044

Page Count: 372

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1978

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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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