The liberation of Berlin is relived—and the Nazi menace stirs again—when a powerfully idealistic American filmmaker returns to his German roots, hoping to make the world a better place. Britisher Bryers (Coming First, 1988, etc.) brings both past and present to life with equal intelligence and skill. Adam Epstein has been a Californian since age two, but he was born a German, in Berlin, in the city's ruinous final days in 1945, of a physician mother and doomed aristocratic father named Conrad von Reisenburg. Adam's war-widowed mother marries the American army captain Sam Epstein and follows him to Hollywood, where he's a successful attorney with plenty of connections—so that baby Adam's future in the movies has all but begun. Flash forward to 1968, put the handsome Adam Epstein in Prague for a student political conference, involve him with the passionate Magda—and then separate the two when Adam escapes across the border from the invading Russians but Magda doesn't. Thus is the scene set for a drama that picks up 20 years later with German reunification—when the now world-famous Adam returns to claim his aristocratic heritage (it includes, even, a real castle), intending, though, only to help and heal and celebrate the new Germany—not just by making yet another fairy-talesuccess movie about the nation but by creating a historical museum, a hostel, an immigration center, new film studios. And so what's to worry? How is the past going to rise up and smite Adam's hopes? And what will the deaths of Goebbels and Hitler, resurging neo-Nazi attacks on immigrants—or that student conference back in '68—have to do with any of it? All this—and more—will be narrated by the intelligent, droll, ex-psychoanalyst Milan Kubanicek, closest of Adam's friends—and holder of an extraordinary secret of his own. Intelligent history mixed into a high complexity of entertainment—and made riveting—by a master hand.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-374-17564-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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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