Dead hippies save the Maine forest in a shamanistic fable only a New Age devotee could love, though followers of Arthurian and magical fantasies may swell the readership. Pot-smoking Tex and Molly, middle-agers who live on a houseboat in Cold Bay (off Dublin, Maine), get high, accidentally fall down a hidden woodland well and, like Alice, wake up in wonderland. In this afterlife they're more alive than dead. Their astral surroundings are much like those in the material world, and Grant (Views from the Oldest House, 1989, etc,) has some fun with the differences (Tex must concentrate profoundly to make a cup of tea). The afterlife is peopled with prehuman spirits as well as with spirits imagined and given life by humans. Amusingly, Tex hides in an acorn that is eaten by a pregnant bear and then issues forth as a cub when the mother is shot; Molly's version of the afterlife, meanwhile, is less strongly drawn than Tex's and fits more into goddess mythology. As things move forward, Gene Deere, a plant geneticist with the powerful, tree-gobbling Gulf Atlantic corporation, wants to change the way trees are grown and to replant the forest with an ``unnaturally'' shaped tree that will be more energy-efficient to harvest. He falls in with Ludi, a sparkly young member of the late Tex and Molly's Cold Bay Street Players (they hold rites and dance around in animal masks to drive off bad treekiller vibes), who eventually leads him down the right path. When a Gulf Atlantic forest burn-off threatens to wipe out huge tracts, wily Tex, who has himself been hectoring the seemingly helpless dryads to unionize, invokes the greatest prehuman spirit of all, the Bishop of Worms, to save Dublin from becoming a wasteland. A between-worlds experience, in all, that Grant's facile fabulism robs of the force, beauty, and imaginative verve needed if an afterlife tale is to have a strong pull.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-380-97304-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

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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