Not a typical ghost story but a young woman learning about love, camaraderie, and self-identity —and possibly a spirit.

The Habitant

A NOVEL

From the The Habitants series , Vol. 1

A college freshman’s job at the campus library comes with new eccentric friends, creepy strangers, and perhaps a ghost in this debut supernatural tale.

With her mom suddenly unemployed, University of Oklahoma student Sarah Felton offers to get a position to help out with expenses. She applies at the library, where the circulation supervisor, impressed by her impromptu interview, hires her. It’s a rough start; her introduction to patron Dr. Patty Nakamura, who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, consists of the woman declaring Sarah’s Pakistani co-worker Lubna a terrorist. But soon Sarah forms friendships with Lubna and student security guard Stanley and something a little more than friendship outside the library with nerdy but winsome Adam. Stanley is particularly unusual, a Native American descendent of shamans who claims he can see auras and ghosts— and that spirits sometimes roam the library. That may include Bernie, a woman evidently taking up residence there. It seems she’s something other than human, floating around the stacks and invisible to everyone, or at least most people. Bernie finds a connection to Sarah and may become what Stanley would call a spirit guide. Unable to speak with words, Bernie tries to communicate with Sarah through feelings. She hopes to warn the freshman about a guy Bernie’s dubbed TC, for The Creep, with a penchant for tampering with elevators and a sinister plan in the works. The novel is a drama first, giving a wide berth to genre conventions. The author, for example, smartly keeps Bernie ambiguous; Sarah proposes that the woman could be an alien, while Bernie herself isn’t sure—there’s no inkling of any sort of past. Sarah, meanwhile, is wholly engaging simply as a 19-year-old student. She hasn’t quite recovered from her dad’s death from lymphoma and worries about her blossoming romance with Adam after witnessing roommate Jennifer’s failed relationship. Readers anticipating spookiness may be dispirited: Bernie’s unequivocally amiable, TC’s unnerving but not outright scary, and Sarah and pals discuss but never investigate spirits. Sarah’s open-mindedness and endless curiosity, however, make her a perfect guide for readers into a world beyond tangible perception—even if it’s largely speculative.

Not a typical ghost story but a young woman learning about love, camaraderie, and self-identity —and possibly a spirit.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9969514-0-1

Page Count: 248

Publisher: PWM Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2016

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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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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

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