Can life still be fun, even spontaneous, despite HIV and safe sex? Yes, indeed, according to Zero, whose adventures, sexual and political, now continue (after Boys Like Us). Zero, like most of his friends in this comic, gabby chronicle of these plague years, is HIV-positive. But he doesn't let a little detail like that slow him down. As the story begins, Zero, an American in Canada, is mourning his lover Randy, who got AIDS in book one. Zero and his fellow AIDS Action-Now activists have helped open a clinic that will administer pentamidine, which battles AIDS-related pneumonia. At the opening celebration, Zero is picked up by Jeff, which leads quickly to a graphic sex scene. As this relationship deepens into domesticity, a cutesy wrench is thrown into the works by the arrival of teenager Mary Bull—a would-be actress who was fathered by Zero's cousin and first lover, Trebeh, in a lesbian friend via turkey baster. But Mary Bull, like much else in this loosely linked string of episodes, many of them having to do with show biz, disappears and reappears without becoming fully engaged—or engaging. There is a visit home to the zany clan in Little Rock (repeat characters include gay Uncle Markus), where Zero's mom tells him she just wants him to get well. Back in Canada, when conflict arises over Randy's choice of an epitaph, which his parents call ``filth,'' Zero sums up, in a sense, the novel's raison d'àtre: ``He wanted something humorous and sexual to counter the usual impression people have of this disease. It's political, in a way.'' The challenge that McGehee poses, and admirably tries to meet, is how to treat the AIDS crisis with humor without registering as superficial and glib. At times, the flightiness of these blithe spirits seems forced—even grimly determined. But at least they're not wallowing in self-pity. And, finally, their courage, and commitment, impresses and moves.

Pub Date: June 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-312-07863-3

Page Count: 208

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1992

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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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