An assiduously researched sequel to Shuler's She Who Remembers (1991), again spotlighting Kwani, an Anasazi woman of the 13th century in what is now New Mexico. Here, Kwani, ``mated'' to a Towa warrior and builder, will live out her life in the rapidly expanding ridge-top city of Cicuye. Driven from her own tribe and pregnant by an Anasazi, Kwani mates with Tolonqua, who takes her and newborn son Acoya back to his people. On the way, he slays the White Buffalo, a Spirit Being, presaging power. Then there's a difficult trek to the Towa village of Cicuye, and once there, the cropping up of enemies. But Tolonqua is chosen to build a new city on the ridge, and Kwani sees the death of her old enemy, who was mother to her son's best friend- -Chomac. Kwani will bear a daughter, Antelope, whose strength and vision equip her to take her mother's place as She Who Remembers- -the woman with the power to be trained to pass on the secrets of women to the next generation. Years pass (Pawnees and Apaches threaten but can't overcome Cicuye) and the city grows; Tolonqua dies nobly on a hunt; Acoya is chosen both to finish the city and lead the people; and Chomac, now mated to Antelope, goes with her on a journey to trade and find his father, the playful wanderer Kokopelli (also from She Who Remembers). And Kwani goes home—her old Anasazi home—to die. In spite of some altercations on the plains or in the pueblos, the Towas are a fairly pacific bunch, and conflicts are sorted out between corn grindings, gossip, lovemaking, etc. Again, Shuler manages an arcane feel to the dialogue, and the reader feels sure that every artifact and process is documented. Not as much fun as Auel's wonder-woman prehistory adventures, but a rose-tinted, respectful ``re-creation'' of The Way Things Were over New Mexico way. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for Summer)

Pub Date: July 21, 1992

ISBN: 0-688-09519-4

Page Count: 640

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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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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More about grief and tragedy than romance.


Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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