Davies (Murther and Walking Spirits, 1991, etc.) deftly combines metaphysics, magic, and modern medicine to tell a contemporary story with ancient roots as he introduces healer and ``cunning man'' Jonathan Hullah. A ``cunning man,'' according to Robert Burton, the noted Arabist, ``will help almost all infirmities of body and mind.'' Hullah, as a doctor who deals with that ``realm where mind and body mingle,'' is Davies's point man for the book's major theme: the links between the mind and disease, the recognition that ``disease is the signal that comes late in the day, that a life has become hard to bear.'' Hullah, recently retired, prompted by a probing question from a young woman journalist who is writing a series of articles on old Toronto, narrates the story of his life as a modern ``cunning man.'' Set in that urbane part of Toronto where art, academe, and old money comfortably mingle, the novel also explores familiar Davies themes of friendship, faith, and art. The journalist wants to know the truth about Father Hobbes, the rector of St. Aidan's who died while celebrating Communion. The old man was rumored to be responsible for miraculous cures. Hullah, who was present at Hobbes's death but neglected to conduct an autopsy, recalls his own boyhood in the deep Canadian woods, where he was saved from death by a local shaman; his years at prep school, where he met the two great friends of his life, Brocky Gilmartin and Charlie Iredale; his decision to become a doctor; and the war experiences that led him to practice a unique form of healing. Hullah is a clever man, with many diverting friends, but it is his old friend Charlie, now a devout priest, whose confession most surprises him and best illustrates the ability of both Davies and his characters to conceal cunningly what lurks beneath the surface. Ideas, aphorisms, and wit are as evident as Davies's more teleological concerns, which all makes for a splendid intellectual romp as well as an absorbingly literate novel. Davies at his best. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-670-85911-7

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1994

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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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