Originally self-published, this DIY success story is already slated for a film adaptation, making these quixotic lovers the...

WARM BODIES

A jubilant story about two star-crossed lovers, one of them dead and hungry for more than love.

Debut novelist Marion hits the pulse of the Twilight crowd with this morbidly romantic look at how affection really feels when your heart beats no more. “I am dead, but it’s not so bad,” says our zombie narrator, by way of introduction. “I’ve learned to live with it. This is “R,” so named because it’s all he can remember. But this is no Team Edward sob story. R really is a zombie, carrying the pink brains of his victims back to his communal lair for a snack. But one day, R chomps down on Perry Kelvin, a teenager whose sole affection is for his girlfriend, Julie. R begins absorbing Perry’s memories, which in turn inspire him not to treat Julie like a bucket of KFC. And so the weirdest courting in the history of literature begins, as R and Julie spend time together prowling food courts and half-destroyed 747s. Julie, who could have been a simplistic mechanism to drive the book’s plot, turns out to be its most inspired character, inhabiting that odd space between fear and curiosity. “Maybe you’re not such a monster, Mr. Zombie,” she admits at one point. “I mean, anyone who appreciates a good beer is halfway okay in my book.” R begins to change, redeveloping his ability to communicate, and noticing a physical transformation to accompany his emotional awakening. But the path of true love never runs smooth, and the unlikely duo soon find themselves caught between R’s ravenous companions and Julie’s soldier father.

Originally self-published, this DIY success story is already slated for a film adaptation, making these quixotic lovers the grateful dead indeed.

Pub Date: May 17, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4391-9231-3

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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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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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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