A generally well-written narrative covering the less-frequently chartered years during which Hemingway first displayed...

A FAREWELL TO WINDEMERE

Mooers (J.P., 2013, etc.) returns to historical fiction, this time following 19-year-old Ernest Hemingway, who comes home from war and struggles to readjust to life in the civilian world.

Working from a plethora of sources, including some Hemingway anthologies, Mooers reconstructs day-to-day details of the two years between Hemingway’s return to Oak Park, Illinois, after having been seriously injured in World War I, and his departure for Paris, where he would eventually become part of the Left Bank expat crowd of artists and writers. Still in pain from the leg injury he suffered while working as an ambulance driver on the Italian front, he came home with many of the 277 shell fragments embedded in his leg and groin, still “working their way up to the surface.” He also experienced frequent flashback memories of the explosion that almost cost him his life. Today, we might say he had PTSD. On top of this, he received a breakup letter from Agnes von Kurowsky, the nurse who tended to him in Italy and then became his lover. Depressed and rudderless, young Hemingway decided to devote himself primarily to fishing the rivers and streams of Walloon Lake near Petoskey, Michigan, site of their family summer home, christened Windemere by his mother. Encircled by a coterie of devoted friends, among whom he was a star, he regained his confidence (some might say arrogance) and embraced his status as a local war hero and fledgling writer. An adept stylistic chameleon, Mooers often approximates the cadence made famous by his subject. By Mooers’ own admission, there are “parts where I use the actual words spoken, the actual words written, or the actual scene as it happened,” so the text—with help from its 26-title bibliography, sans citations—becomes a sort of treasure hunt for Hemingway devotees looking to uncover the verifiable quotations. For the rest of us, it’s simply a solid story that conveys the uncertainties and the contrasting hubris of a young man wracked by memories of the war while on the cusp of a phenomenal literary career.

A generally well-written narrative covering the less-frequently chartered years during which Hemingway first displayed flashes of the man he’d become.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0988648685

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Riverrun

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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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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