Wanting it both ways: lots of pulpy sex embedded in a tale that eventually turns and tries to paint itself as moral vision.”

HUNGRY GHOST

A debut tries, somewhat desperately, to put spirituality and love back into the modern romance story.

You’re Carter Cox, the 39-year-old photographer protagonist of a second-person love story. You have affairs with beautiful models on a regular basis, but life just isn’t satisfying. Not even your Buddhism is helping. “So what is Buddhism exactly?” you think. “You often wonder about this when you sit down to meditate back home.” Then you meet Mia, who thinks you look like Jeff Bridges. Mia studies Art History in Texas, in addition to Buddhism. You’re captivated by her. “My Buddha statue holds your flower,” you write her. She plays hard to get—really, hardest to get, because she’s a true virgin. You try to reconcile arousal with Om Mani Padme Hung. But don’t worry, Mia will agree to an innocent romance—not quite before you buckle and purchase those porn DVDs, but before you slip them into the hard drive. The romance that follows won’t run smooth, as you’re still caught up in that decadent nonspiritual of sex with supermodels, sometimes with more than two people present. But Mia is so tempting, and isn’t your refusal to shoot for Playboy an indication that you really long for something pure? Perhaps taking Mia to Marrakesh will reveal whether the two of you are soulmates who can live up to the meaning of “full-sexual penetration.” In contrast to Bright Lights, Big City, where the second person was a stand-in for indictment and shame, the device here seems intended solely to make you think you care more than you probably do for this Colin Harrison prose dressed up for Easter Sunday. Casablanca has mischief and suspense for our clean lovers, but is it enough for you to give in and pop the question after all these dirty years?

Wanting it both ways: lots of pulpy sex embedded in a tale that eventually turns and tries to paint itself as moral vision.”

Pub Date: May 9, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-052390-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2003

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 14

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2014

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • National Book Award Finalist

  • Pulitzer Prize Winner

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE

Doerr presents us with two intricate stories, both of which take place during World War II; late in the novel, inevitably, they intersect.

In August 1944, Marie-Laure LeBlanc is a blind 16-year-old living in the walled port city of Saint-Malo in Brittany and hoping to escape the effects of Allied bombing. D-Day took place two months earlier, and Cherbourg, Caen and Rennes have already been liberated. She’s taken refuge in this city with her great-uncle Etienne, at first a fairly frightening figure to her. Marie-Laure’s father was a locksmith and craftsman who made scale models of cities that Marie-Laure studied so she could travel around on her own. He also crafted clever and intricate boxes, within which treasures could be hidden. Parallel to the story of Marie-Laure we meet Werner and Jutta Pfennig, a brother and sister, both orphans who have been raised in the Children’s House outside Essen, in Germany. Through flashbacks we learn that Werner had been a curious and bright child who developed an obsession with radio transmitters and receivers, both in their infancies during this period. Eventually, Werner goes to a select technical school and then, at 18, into the Wehrmacht, where his technical aptitudes are recognized and he’s put on a team trying to track down illegal radio transmissions. Etienne and Marie-Laure are responsible for some of these transmissions, but Werner is intrigued since what she’s broadcasting is innocent—she shares her passion for Jules Verne by reading aloud 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. A further subplot involves Marie-Laure’s father’s having hidden a valuable diamond, one being tracked down by Reinhold von Rumpel, a relentless German sergeant-major.

Doerr captures the sights and sounds of wartime and focuses, refreshingly, on the innate goodness of his major characters.

Pub Date: May 6, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4658-6

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

A clever and current book about a complicated woman and her romantic relationships.

CONVERSATIONS WITH FRIENDS

The story of the entangled affairs of a group of exceedingly smart and self-possessed creative types.

Frances, an aloof and intelligent 21-year-old living in Dublin, is an aspiring poet and communist. She performs her spoken-word pieces with her best friend and ex-lover, Bobbi, who is equally intellectual but gregarious where Frances is shy and composed where Frances is awkward. When Melissa, a notable writer and photographer, approaches the pair to offer to do a profile of them, they accept excitedly. While Bobbi is taken with Melissa, Frances becomes infatuated by her life—her success, her beautiful home, her actor husband, Nick. Nick is handsome and mysterious and, it turns out, returns Frances’ attraction. Although he can sometimes be withholding of his affection (he struggles with depression), they begin a passionate affair. Frances and Nick’s relationship makes difficult the already tense (for its intensity) relationship between Frances and Bobbi. In the midst of this complicated dynamic, Frances is also managing endometriosis and neglectful parents—an abusive, alcoholic father and complicit mother. As a narrator, Frances describes all these complex fragments in an ethereal and thoughtful but self-loathing way. Rooney captures the mood and voice of contemporary women and their interpersonal connections and concerns without being remotely predictable. In her debut novel, she deftly illustrates psychology’s first lesson: that everyone is doomed to repeat their patterns.

A clever and current book about a complicated woman and her romantic relationships.

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-451-49905-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hogarth

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more