Next book

THE WOMAN WHO STOLE MY LIFE

A salon owner–turned-invalid-turned author struggles to make sense of her life, and sometimes so do we.

The roller-coaster tale of a chatty Dublin woman rendered speechless, then renewed by the love of a good doctor—and a terrible literary agent.

From the Brontës to Maeve Binchy to Helen Fielding, British and Irish writers have long specialized in diarylike stories of ordinary women thwarted by unusual circumstances. The Limerick-born Keyes, now on her 13th novel (The Mystery of Mercy Close, 2013, etc.), offers an entertaining if choppy take on the genre. Her heroine, Stella Sweeney, shuttles between the present and recent past to unpeel a quirky love story. While muddling through a mediocre marriage blessed with two surly teens, Stella is felled by a sudden illness that confines her to the hospital for months, unable to move or speak. As her husband grows petulant and her children, more distant, Stella finds herself connecting only with her handsome neurologist, the perfectly named Mannix. He draws an articulate wisdom out of his patient that much of her rambling narrative doesn’t lead us to expect, and the two of them start a stormy relationship after Stella has healed and both their marriages have crumbled. When it turns out that—why not?—the doc has gone ahead and self-published a collection of bedridden Stella’s bons mots, it somehow winds up in the hands of the U.S. vice president’s wife in a photo in People  (yes, that’s as convoluted as it sounds). Thus begins Stella’s new career as a memoirist, feeding the American hunger for nuggets of clichéd advice resulting from extreme hardship. Her journey involves Manhattan, money-grubbing publishers, highbrow beauties, oddball relatives, and a lot of phone sex. It’s a fun romp, as they say, but be sure to bring your suspension of disbelief to the book release party.

A salon owner–turned-invalid-turned author struggles to make sense of her life, and sometimes so do we.

Pub Date: July 7, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-525-42925-8

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Categories:
Next book

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:

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 41


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015


  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner


  • National Book Award Finalist

Next book

A LITTLE LIFE

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

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 41


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:
Close Quickview