Superb, often laugh-out-loud first half. Then no more jokes.


Miller abandons suspense (Tropical Heat, 2002, etc.) for what at first looks like a supernatural satire on baseball, reincarnation, and quantum physics—with some of the funniest sports spoofs since Ring Lardner.

When his best friend and deep intellectual companion, Arthur Hodges, a genius physicist and fellow mathematician, dies at 40 (still a stone virgin, wholly obsessed with math theory), Archibald Rhodes, better known as Benny, distinguished professor of mathematics, etc., at MIT and now in his early 60s, gives up his job and boring 40-year marriage to a wealthy wife to go on the road in a mobile home and live up his later years. As for the late Arthur, he’s seemingly too fine a mind to waste merely on death. Had he not been destined to be Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University, a chair once held by Sir Isaac Newton himself? In Oklahoma, Benny picks up Becky Morgan, a waitress who has just had her third abortion in 18 months, and settles down with her on the boiling hot edge of the Mojave Desert. She’s gravid yet again. Happy Benny now loses his lifelong interest in the Boston Red Sox, an interest once wholly ignored by Arthur. Meanwhile, the Oakland A’s have signed on Henry Spencer, a phenomenal catcher from North Carolina just out of the Army after three years. Henry, called “Soldier” by his astounded teammates, is supernaturally gifted, it seems, and may well be the greatest baseball player of all time. A magnificent and universally envied physical specimen, Henry’s quite pleasantly weird, can’t remember his past, and speaks of baseball as quantum physics, as if he’s Sir Isaac Newton himself. His teammates, all borderline morons, reel, stunned by Henry’s crazy grasp of the game as he speaks of pitches in terms of Max Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, Schrödinger’s cat, and theoretical physics. So what’ll happen if and when Benny meets Henry and sees, hmm, Arthur?

Superb, often laugh-out-loud first half. Then no more jokes.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-765-30627-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Forge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2003

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


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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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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