Neanderthals (who disappeared from the world 40,000 years ago) get a new lease on life in this impressive, engrossing debut novel. While visiting his Indian homeland, Yute Nahadeh (who forsook Alaska to become a world-class paleoanthropologist) unearths from an ice cave a perfectly preserved young woman of great antiquity. Yute smuggles his find back to a Seattle lab and discovers that she was pregnant at her death. Eager to study what he's convinced will be a Neanderthal offspring, the young scientist pays a runaway Indian girl to take the embryo to term. After the birth of a healthy baby girl, however, the surrogate mother refuses to let Yute have her. In consequence, the child grows up as Ember Ozette in a remote fishing village on the Washington State coast. Endowed with a glowing golden skin, speech impediments, a strapping physique, and far greater strength than contemporaries of either sex, Ember appreciates early on that she's very different from other kids. In the meantime, Yute, who has been observing his protÇgÇ from afar, makes contact with Ember and, in desperation, kidnaps her. Unwilling to serve as a living lab specimen, Ember escapes his clutches and heads north to her ancestral home in Alaska. Once there, she learns that a gold-mining enterprise is going to destroy a subterranean burial ground housing her people. Desperate to preserve her heritage, Ember takes on the villainous exploiters. In the ensuing donnybrook, Yute redeems himself by saving Ember's life (at the cost of his own) and a cavern full of so-called Heart-Talkers who can be cloned. At the close, Ember, who has given birth to a son, settles into a remote Alaskan valley that promises to prove a happy hunting ground for the prehistoric humans whose revival she presages. An effective blend of scientific fact and shamanistic fancy, one that weaves a genuinely magic spell. (First printing of 100,000; Literary Guild selection; author tour)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-385-31457-4

Page Count: 448

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 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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