The characters’ concerns lead to some provocative ideas and discussions, which can get lost in the meandering narrative.


Michael, his companion Janet, their son, David, and their friends continue their adventures while searching for philosophical and scientific truth in the latest installment of Dimond’s (Return of the Light Prince, 2010, etc.) series.

Michael’s latest adventure begins at the ceremony marking the union of his close friend and confidant John Bran, better known as “Oats,” and his beloved Marmuron. The joyous occasion is also a time of curiosity and reflection as Oats is also exploring Isaac Newton’s theories of gravity and motion. Oats’ discoveries have significant implications for humanity, and he’s eager to share them with his friends. Oats and Marmuron aren’t the only ones enjoying a fulfilling union. Princess Urundayy, also known as Uri, is growing closer to her friend Herron, but she needs to be certain he’s the right one for her before she forms a union with him. Uri’s romantic dilemma coincides with an important new mission: She’s been asked to assist with the formation of a new sanctuary that will unite and protect the animal population. Michael also continues his analyses of the theories of Newton and Charles Darwin with his closest friends in an attempt to re-establish balance in the universe. Dimond’s fast-paced narrative thoughtfully explores a number of ideas and concepts. The strongest element of the novel is the concerns the characters share for understanding the universe and protecting the most vulnerable elements of society. Michael is a likable protagonist surrounded by an extensive supporting cast, including Janet and the young lovers, Uri and Herron. Dimond explores a plethora of ideas in the novel; however, many of the chapters feel truncated, ending just when it looks like a character is going to reveal a significant detail. Sharper editing could have helped refine the story’s focus and clear up confusion regarding some of the characters’ names; for example, one character is referred to as Megs, Meg and Meg’s.

The characters’ concerns lead to some provocative ideas and discussions, which can get lost in the meandering narrative.

Pub Date: March 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1493135653

Page Count: 266

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2014

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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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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