A CONDOR BRINGS THE SUN

First novel spinning a love story around ecological themes, set in the Peruvian Andes and Montana. Pilar is a young Runa Indian woman whose identity is shared with her 23 mothers—or maternal ancestors—and she tells their stories as if to carry her race into the future. One such story is the myth that the great condor flies every morning from the East, bringing the sun. Another tells of the invasion of the Incas, yet another of the conquering Spanish. The present, too, is full of travail, for the Sendero Luminoso, violent left-wing guerrillas, have arrived in Pilar's village. They begin a ruthless purification program, and Pilar is threatened, since her knowledge of the past brands her in some eyes as a sorceress. She flees over the mountains along the ancient Inca Road to the village of Ollantaytambo, where she meets a norteamericano named Arnie Wolcott. A clumsy but likable fellow, Arnie is an expert on grizzlies who has come to Peru to census the population of spectacled bears for his master's thesis. High in the mountains, he and Pilar make love, and Pilar follows Arnie to the US as his wife. With some friends, the two undertake to free a grizzly named Celeste and her cubs from the tortures of university research. Mission accomplished, the two part. But Pilar brings a little money home to Peru and buys a nice plot of land far from the Senderistas. Arnie has settled down some, having loved once, but well, and having done a good deed. Splitting the novel into two sections, one told from Pilar's point of view, the other from Arnie's, is jarring. And, given the high romance of this unlikely pair in the first place, to part them seems arbitrary. Far-fetched, then, though pleasant and diverting.

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 1996

ISBN: 0-87156-354-1

Page Count: 276

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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