BRONTE

A gifted Yorkshire novelist tackles his region's most famous literary family, illuminating their inner lives and the sources of their creativity. Hughes (The Rape of the Rose, 1993, etc.) lives not 20 miles from Haworth, staging ground for the Brontâs' short, tragic lives, and he ably captures the harsh natural beauty and even harsher human attitudes that informed the siblings' writings. More importantly, he sensitively delineates their thorny personalities: Charlotte, furious at the world for the injustices it visited on a poor, plain parson's daughter, prone to turning her anger on her family before she found a more fulfilling outlet writing Jane Eyre; Branwell, weak and dissipated, but possessed of a genuinely loving heart; Emily, whose mystical connection with the Yorkshire landscape left little room for human ties; and gentle, devout Anne. Their father, the Reverend Patrick Brontâ, gets a more measured treatment than some biographers have accorded him; Hughes emphasizes his pride in his daughters over the selfishness that also characterized the minister. The author hews to the known facts about this much-profiled family, though he imagines some intriguing local tales as the foundation for Emily's Wuthering Heights and speculates intelligently about the emotional wellsprings of Charlotte's novels. Sensibly, he focuses more on the siblings' intense relationships among themselves and with the divine order (questioned by all four with anguish) than on their literary achievements, which have been amply examined by generations of critics. Although Hughes paints well-rounded portraits of Charlotte and Emily, he basically reiterates the conclusions drawn by such biographers as Winnifred GÇrin; he really excels in depicting Anne and Branwell, whose death scenes are almost unbearably moving. The author evokes with fierce passion the dreadful seven months in 184849 during which consumption claimed first Branwell, then Emily, and finally Anne, almost equalling in intensity Charlotte's ghastly letters from that period. Nothing really new here, but, still, a sensitive, full-bodied rendering of the always fascinating Brontâs. (First printing of 60,000)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-312-14816-X

Page Count: 432

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1996

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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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