An introspective novel that reveals the depths of human connection and the struggle to overcome loneliness and trauma.


A chance meeting in Paris sends two Americans into a relationship that forces them both to consider how well they know themselves and those around them in D’Agincourt’s (All Most, 2015, etc.) latest novel.

Jacob Printz, apparently in his early 40s, is a political campaign manager who can talk his way out of anything. But after his sister, Catherine, dies, he drops the various strands of his life and flies to Paris, with no plans other than to escape grief. Greta Hatler, 12 years Jacob’s junior, is similarly aimless; during a semester studying art history in Florence, Greta falls in love with her Italian lecturer, Tomasso. But now the semester is over, Greta is in Paris, and all she has is Tomasso’s ring and vague guilt. Tomasso remains a mystery for much of the novel as Greta attempts to piece together her affair and reconcile her memories; the last thing that she recalls about Tomasso is that he may be dying. In Paris, Jacob and Greta are thrown together not by romantic attraction but by twists of fate. Greta loses the ring, and Jacob returns it to her. But the cafe to which they retreat almost becomes the target of a suicide bomber. This layer of danger brings the two characters closer as they confront their fears and grief. D’Agincourt offers a quiet novel about trauma, memory, and how well one can understand another person. She often compares people and artworks, showing how both can be the subjects of speculation and interpretation. At one point, she describes how Greta, seeking to understand Tomasso, imagines his childhood: “He must have been precocious…rambunctious on the playground, needing to be the leader.” But then Tomasso tells her how wrong her imaginings are. Via third-person narration, D’Agincourt effectively steps into the heads of both Jacob and Greta, seamlessly integrating their perspectives and acute senses of loneliness. Despite their desire to connect, the characters lack the ability to adequately communicate their feelings. However, their flaws also give them complex interior lives that propel the novel forward.

An introspective novel that reveals the depths of human connection and the struggle to overcome loneliness and trauma.

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9891745-9-6

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Portmay Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...


Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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