ENTWINED

Richly gripping, nonoccult thriller about telepathic twins- -from the author of Bella Mafia (1991) and writer of the much- acclaimed British PBS series Prime Suspect. Ruda and Rebecca as children were subjects of experiments in telepathy by Dr. Josef Mengele at the Birkenau death camp, where he told them that the stacks of newborn babies they saw weren't dolls but actually loaves about to be baked in the ovens. Carrying deep psychic wounds, the girls were parted when the Russians liberated the camp. Ruda became a child whore in Berlin, dreaming of getting to America and having herself attended to medically. Rebecca went to an orphanage, later was adopted by an American couple, and raised in Philadelphia. A fat, tantrum-y child beset by color- flashes, she grew up to become a pencil-thin New York model and drowned all memory of Ruda. She married Baron Louis de Marechal, lived amid fabulous wealth in Europe, and had four children, but each birth was followed by a mental breakdown. Now, Louis has brought her to Berlin to the hypnotherapy clinic of Dr. Franks, Louis's last hope before committing ``Vebekka'' (she has changed her name). Meanwhile, Ruda has married a dwarf in order to get to America. But he's imprisoned for theft and she moves on to an over- the-hill lion-tamer, Luis Grimaldi, whom she marries and brings back into the circus ring with a pride of great cats. Luis teaches Ruda, and at last she becomes perhaps the world's greatest lion- tamer (and you can believe it: Ruda's many scenes hustling huge hissing cats through their paces keep you rigid). It seems, however, that unbeknownst to the sisters, when they live near each other, Vebekka suffers flashes that signal a breakdown.... A pinch of the paranormal assures massive paralysis of the neckbones as you claw through the pages and hiss for privacy.

Pub Date: June 18, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-09243-8

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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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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ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH

While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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