by Jane Green ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2009
The competing styles—chatty friendships, shopping, middle-aged enlightenment and crime/suspense—make for a disjointed read.
British author Green (The Beach House, 2008, etc.) has moved from England to Connecticut, and her novel’s heroines have fallen suit.
Exit the chippy London career girl looking for love and a sample sale, enter the New England mother questioning whether there is a bit more to life than the requisite diamond-stud earrings and showcase country house. This is what Kit wondered before she divorced Adam, but now two years later, she is finally fulfilled. The mansion, and the prestige of being married to one of Wall Street’s players, is gone. Still, in Highfield (think Greenwich), the mansion has been replaced with a charming house a few blocks from Main Street, and she now has an eccentric and perfectly indispensable new neighbor in octogenarian Edie. Best yet, she has a great job as personal assistant to Robert McClore (think Tom Clancy). The kids have adjusted, her friends Charlie and Tracy are lovely. In fact, everything is terrific. Until it isn’t. There are clouds on the horizon: America’s financial crisis is about to hit this community hard; Tracy begins to woo Robert (his first wife, a wild-child model, died in a boating accident—or was it?— in the swinging ’70s); and Annabel, a British half-sister Kit has just found out about, shows up. Green’s novel begins lightly and then shifts gears, producing a kind of thriller-lite effect. A few key players have some nasty intentions, and Kit has to sort it all out. Meanwhile, she is trying to decide if her new romantic interest (the dishy Steve, who is literally too good to be true) can compare with Adam, whom she is beginning to think she still loves. Green has some good fun with the shallow lifestyles of the ladies who lunch, and by the end the greedy are punished and the good (that would be Kit) prevail.The competing styles—chatty friendships, shopping, middle-aged enlightenment and crime/suspense—make for a disjointed read.
Pub Date: June 16, 2009
Page Count: 342
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2009
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by Hanya Yanagihara ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2015
The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.
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Best Books Of 2015
National Book Award Finalist
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
Page Count: 720
Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015
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by Harper Lee ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 11, 1960
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
Page Count: 323
Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960
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