LITTLE NIGHT

A new rendering of Rice’s familiar themes of sisterhood and inherited dysfunction, which suffers from slapdash...

A Manhattan ornithologist strives to heal the rift that has divided what is left of her family.

Clare and her older sister Anne were always close, having grown up in a Chelsea brownstone with parents who kept secrets from each other and their daughters. But when Anne married a famous Danish glass blower, Frederik, he insisted she distance her own family. After a long silence, Clare goes to Anne’s isolated country home, where she’s welcomed by Anne and her children, Grit and Gilly. Bruises on Anne reveal abuse, confirmed by young Gilly, but when Frederik thwarts their escape and tries to strangle Anne, Clare hits him with a burning log from the fireplace. After Anne testifies against her, Clare goes to prison for two years. Almost 20 years later, Clare has rebuilt her life around her work as a birder and nature blogger, studying New York City’s avian population. Her boyfriend, Paul, an Urban Park Ranger, is still in her life, but since she broke up with him (for his own good, she thought) while in prison, their relationship has remained tentative. When Grit shows up at Clare’s apartment (in that very same childhood brownstone), Clare learns that Anne, who moved to Copenhagen with Frederik, has thoroughly identified with her captor. She has tolerated Frederik’s physical and emotional abuse, not just of herself but of her son and daughter. Gilly commits a tragic act as a result, and Grit is disowned by her parents. Frederik is such an odious character that it is difficult to see how he managed to ensnare Anne in the first place—let alone keep her in his thrall. When Grit is hurt while filming in a bog, Clare leaves a message for Anne. A scent of violets and other clues indicate Anne may have heard the call.

A new rendering of Rice’s familiar themes of sisterhood and inherited dysfunction, which suffers from slapdash characterization but profits from a sure-handed depiction of the wilds of New York.

Pub Date: June 5, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02356-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

Categories:

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 30


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • National Book Award Finalist

A LITTLE LIFE

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 30


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • National Book Award Finalist

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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

Categories:

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

Categories:
Close Quickview