An emotional, visceral exploration of desire.



A sensual meditation on the nature of love in prose poetry form.

Robert Deshaies’ collection of modern poetry starts on a steamy note between two lovers: “You caress me as your curves rhythmically move with synchronous motion of your words.” In subsequent poems, the narrators wonder if they will find love again, if they have reached their breaking point, and if love is stronger than hate. They warn, “I need you, but I won’t be your forever.” On their birthday, they run into a one-night stand. In another poem, they describe the agony of sobering up: “As I lie in the corner, cradled, I shiver and squirm like a fly plucked of its wings, helpless.” The dark side of the narrator’s passion is their anger. It plagues them, and “at times the monster needs to be set free.” The narrator rails against a man named Frank, for whom “brutality was your only way to get out.” Ultimately, however, the author, a self-described “hopeless romantic,” returns to love. In an afterword, he urges readers to “try to love, for without it, we are immoral and desolate creatures living a life void of happiness.” Deshaies’ language is visceral, evident in phrases like “you bite and gnaw at my flesh,” and “Her glance bites me, a snake wandering the unknown field.” He poignantly describes his feelings, like disappointment, in apt, although sometimes clichéd, metaphors: “I expected a garden when you only grew a flower.” But the reader has little sense of who the “I” speaking throughout is or who the “you” addressed in these poems is; the reader feels they are peeking into a stranger’s diary. Scene-setting is scant, leaving the reader a bit unmoored. The poems are interspersed with stunning black-and-white nude photographs by Joseph Deshaies and black-and-white illustrations by Dawnmarie Deshaies.

An emotional, visceral exploration of desire. (afterword, author bio)

Pub Date: June 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64654-561-2

Page Count: 76

Publisher: Fulton Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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The years pass by at a fast and steamy clip in Blume’s latest adult novel (Wifey, not reviewed; Smart Women, 1984) as two friends find loyalties and affections tested as they grow into young women. In sixth grade, when Victoria Weaver is asked by new girl Caitlin Somers to spend the summer with her on Martha’s Vineyard, her life changes forever. Victoria, or more commonly Vix, lives in a small house; her brother has muscular dystrophy; her mother is unhappy, and money is scarce. Caitlin, on the other hand, lives part of the year with her wealthy mother Phoebe, who’s just moved to Albuquerque, and summers with her father Lamb, equally affluent, on the Vineyard. The story of how this casual invitation turns the two girls into what they call "Summer sisters" is prefaced with a prologue in which Vix is asked by Caitlin to be her matron of honor. The years in between are related in brief segments by numerous characters, but mostly by Vix. Caitlin, determined never to be ordinary, is always testing the limits, and in adolescence falls hard for Von, an older construction worker, while Vix falls for his friend Bru. Blume knows the way kids and teens speak, but her two female leads are less credible as they reach adulthood. After high school, Caitlin travels the world and can’t understand why Vix, by now at Harvard on a scholarship and determined to have a better life than her mother has had, won’t drop out and join her. Though the wedding briefly revives Vix’s old feelings for Bru, whom Caitlin is marrying, Vix is soon in love with Gus, another old summer friend, and a more compatible match. But Caitlin, whose own demons have been hinted at, will not be so lucky. The dark and light sides of friendship breathlessly explored in a novel best saved for summer beachside reading.

Pub Date: May 8, 1998

ISBN: 0-385-32405-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1998

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