An allegorical glimpse of the soul's post-death experiences from popular guru and erstwhile therapist Peck (In Search of Stones, 1995, etc.). Finding himself near the ceiling of his bedroom, Daniel Turpin, an author and psychiatrist, briefly looks down on the waxy, gray body of a 73-year-old man before he gets whirled into a vortex and embraced by the light. Peck describes in a first-person narrative how Daniel next finds himself lying down (without a body) in a simple but strangely comforting small green room where he is visited by Sam and Norma, who, he feels, resemble Mormon missionaries but turn out to be his official ``Greeters,'' charged with introducing him to his new life. In subsequent chapters, Daniel meets his wife and his son Tim, now an advanced spirit who, however, never quite answers Daniel's excited questions. There's even a sex scene on a hillside overlooking Assisi, where Daniel is all but seduced by the erotic charms of a spirit named Susan, who turns out to be Satan. The shifting of shapes and scenes is rather like the virtual-reality programs of Star Trek, and indeed Daniel learns that the body, like all things visible, is really a collection of psychic projections from which souls can learn to free themselves. Thus an obese woman, Trish, is literally caught in her own self-image (learning to let go of it is her Purgatory), whereas Hell is a giant financial agency whose employees can never bear to leave. Peck makes clever use of popular near-death motifs and Tibetan Bardostyle confrontations. He admits his debt to C.S. Lewis but avoids the latter's brand of Christianity. Unsettlingly, Daniel (who, after all, seems remarkably like Peck's alter ego) frequently reminds the reader what a great visionary and therapist he was on earth. Useful psychological insights in a loose New Age framework.

Pub Date: May 9, 1996

ISBN: 0-7868-6204-1

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1996

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.


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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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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