BRIDESHEAD REVISITED

Here's perhaps the first chance we have had to make Waugh an item for big sales. Contradictory as it may sound, this may well be the most popular book Waugh has written and at the same time the most serious. There is none of the intense if sterile brilliance of his earlier books — their world of sybaritic pleasures and empty lives. Here, if unobtrusively, is the corrective of faith — Waugh, as did Huxley, has turned from nihilism to belief — in this case that of the Catholic Church. This is the story of the rich, the beautiful and the damned Marchmains, as told by Charles Ryder who revisited their home, Brides-head, in the war years. Here was his first introduction to the Marchmains, when at Oxford with Sebastian, the second son, Sebastian who was eccentric, exquisite, appealing, who drank to escape bondage to his mother, the pious, ascetic Lady Marchmain, who drove her husband from her in much the same way. Sebastian was never to lose the need for alcoholic excess, but his Catholic conscience, implanted in the nursery, reappeared at intervals during his last, lost years in Morocco. This is also the story of Julia, his sister, Julia who defied the Church and married vulgar, bombastic, monted, divorced Rex Mottram, and then ten years later met Ryder again and fell in love with him. When each secured divorce, she refused to marry him because of the shadow of papal disapproval. Such is the outline of the story. The details, particularly in the Oxford years of Sebastian and Ryder, have much of the graceful, astringent satire one associates with Waugh; the latter half, with the disintegration of Sebastian, the abnegation of Julia, is saddening even though Waugh does not wholly convince one with the validity of the Catholic viewpoint. And not to be forgotten, there is the fascination of the fluent facility of Waugh's prose, shaped by a practised observation and a civilised intellect.... This for your sophisticated readers. — B.O.M. for January.

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 1945

ISBN: 0316042994

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1945

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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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