A saucy and ultimately heartwarming tale set in the cutthroat world of high-stakes modeling.

CATWALK FAIL

A debut novel presents an insider’s view of the professional modeling circuit.

Godfrey’s tale stars male model Colin Bryce Hamilton, who has been in the business five years when he suffers a comedic injury to the only part of his anatomy he’s never shown on a runway. Suddenly he’s dropped by his agency and shaken to his core, flashing back to his earliest days working the Milan fashion shows without knowing what he was doing. “A typical day had me casting with Dolce & Gabbana, cat-walking for Armani and posing for Fendi,” he recalls. “After a month of watching sunglasses-wearing clients flip through my book like it was the Yellow Pages, I didn’t get a single job.” As Colin’s life quickly and systematically falls apart (his conniving friends begin to get the modeling jobs he covets; his love life hits the doldrums; etc.), things are made worse by his sister Jasmine’s announcement that she intends to enter the same modeling world that has recently chewed him up and spat him out. Godfrey portrays Colin as affable, funny, and believably callow (“How many glasses of wine does it take to turn a six-foot Russian girl into a destructive whirlwind of lust?” he muses at one point. “No more than four. I counted”), which makes the experience of seeing him put in a crucible oddly intriguing. The narrative is steeped in the narcissistic realities of the modeling world, but those truths are delivered, usually by Colin directly, in the form of sardonic zingers: “There are few problems in modelling that can’t be solved by a body fat percentage below five.” Yet the characters, from rival models to groupies to shady event coordinators, are textured with authenticity. The twin drives of Colin’s own story—to get his life back on track and to protect his sister from ruining hers—are all the more winning for the hero’s feet of clay.

A saucy and ultimately heartwarming tale set in the cutthroat world of high-stakes modeling.

Pub Date: May 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-974192-57-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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Soft-focus story moves right along with few surprises. This time around, Hannah avoids the soap-opera complications of her...

DISTANT SHORES

Another middle-aged mom in a muddle.

After years of false starts and big hopes, Elizabeth’s ruggedly handsome husband Jack, a former football star, just landed a spot as a sportscaster on national news. He still loves her, even though much younger women are giving him come-hither looks. Heck, he doesn’t want to betray the love of his life after she helped him kick drugs and stuck by him even when he was a struggling has-been. And won’t it seem hypocritical if he fools around with his sexy assistant while he does in-depth reporting on a rape case involving a famous basketball center? Well, he fools around anyway. Elizabeth, nicknamed Birdie, knows nothing of this, but she withdraws from Jack when her hard-drinking, salt-of-the-earth father has a stroke and dies. Now no one will call her “sugar beet” ever again. Time to return home to Tennessee and contend with Anita, the sort-of-evil stepmother so trashy she wears pink puffy slippers all day long. Naturally, it turns out that Anita actually has a heart of gold and knows a few things about Birdie’s dead mother that were hushed up for years. Mom was an artist, just like Birdie, and an old scandal comes to light as Anita unrolls a vibrant canvas that portrays her secret lover. Perhaps, Birdie muses, her mother died of heartbreak, never having followed her true love or developed her talent. Has she, too, compromised everything she holds dear? Hoping to find out, Birdie joins a support group that promises to reconnect confused women with their passion. She and Jack separate, prompting a how-dare-you fit from their grown daughters. Will Birdie fly her empty nest? Will she go back to college for a degree in art? Will her brooding watercolors ever sell?

Soft-focus story moves right along with few surprises. This time around, Hannah avoids the soap-opera complications of her previous tales (Summer Island, 2001, etc.).

Pub Date: July 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-345-45071-X

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2002

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