A decent book enhanced by Deford’s great, conversational writing style.

THE ENTITLED

Sportswriter and NPR commentator Deford (The Old Ball Game, 2005, etc.) tells a sweet tale about a baseball-team manager, his moody superstar and their moral dilemma.

After decades of good, hard, largely unrecognized work in the trenches, Howie Traveler has finally gotten what he deserves: He’s managing the Cleveland Indians. And he’s doing the pretty good job he always knew he could do. But his golden opportunity is about to evaporate after two years of laying the foundation for a league championship. Jay Alcazar, the Indians’ superstar, the muscle in the team’s lineup, has gone off the tracks. The gorgeous, gifted Cuban is about to get hit with a rape charge, and straight-shooting Howie, who genuinely likes the slugger and has worked hard to earn his trust, holds Jay’s fate in his hands. Howie saw Jay’s accuser trying to leave the ballplayer’s room and saw Jay pull her back and slam the door, but rape doesn’t make much sense to Howie or to anyone. Jay is such a star and so handsome that he never wants for voluntary companionship or sexual satisfaction. He has only to lift an eyebrow, even in a year like this one, when he’s off his stride. The manager, a very canny and very honest guy, is stumped. He knows he was hired to keep Alcazar happy and motivated, he knows that he’s about to be replaced by someone who can motivate the outfielder to resume his winning ways, and he knows that he’s never going to get a chance to manage a team if he gets fired. But rape? How can you wink at that? What he needs to know is why Jay spent a year distracted from his championship form. It all has to do with the circumstances surrounding the player’s birth and subsequent removal from the Socialist Paradise, but Jay seems unwilling to save his own skin. Or Howie’s.

A decent book enhanced by Deford’s great, conversational writing style.

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-4022-0896-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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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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