An impressive, culturally informative, and engaging love story filled with conflicts.


A romance between a woman from a poor, Southern family and a man from a large, close-knit, Indian immigrant clan sparks a clash that threatens to destroy the lives of three main characters in this debut novel.

Jenny Jenkins and Roshan Desai meet in dental school in Memphis and are simply good friends —until a graduation night celebration sends them into each other’s arms. Unfortunately, Roshan’s mother, Esha, who has a key to her son’s apartment, finds them together the next morning. Staring at Jenny, Esha says to her son, “Roshan, you need to take out the trash.” Jenny and Roshan go their separate ways only to reconnect after a decade, reigniting their passion; family chaos ensues. Each of the three characters has a life-altering back story, pieces of which are revealed along the way. Jenny becomes a successful dentist in Atlanta; Roshan agrees to a traditional, arranged marriage, but his dental practice is jeopardized by alcoholism and his lack of interest in his work. Esha is tortured by her son’s loveless and childless marriage but has learned to always maintain a public face of contentment: “If you tell a lie often enough, doesn’t it become the truth?” Jenny and Roshan are almost polar opposites. Jenny left home early to reinvent herself. She is independent and relentless in her pursuit of her career. Roshan is a rebel, but he’s constrained by tradition and various obligations to his widowed mother. He is both smothered and nourished by his family. Of these three fully developed characters, Esha is the most intriguing. Widowed when Roshan was 4 and thoroughly entrenched in Indian tradition, she gradually ventures out into mainstream society in search of purpose and reconciliation with her son. Parbhoo, a Southerner who is herself married to an Indian immigrant from South Africa, enriches the narrative with lavish descriptions of Indian food, dress, and family gatherings. And she has a wonderful eye for detail—at a celebration, Esha watches the younger women dancing: “The tiny mirrors on their flowing skirts created a swirl of colors, rotating in a circle.”

An impressive, culturally informative, and engaging love story filled with conflicts.

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9982310-0-6

Page Count: 390

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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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. 21, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of...


Lifelong, conflicted friendship of two women is the premise of Hannah’s maudlin latest (Magic Hour, 2006, etc.), again set in Washington State.

Tallulah “Tully” Hart, father unknown, is the daughter of a hippie, Cloud, who makes only intermittent appearances in her life. Tully takes refuge with the family of her “best friend forever,” Kate Mularkey, who compares herself unfavorably with Tully, in regards to looks and charisma. In college, “TullyandKate” pledge the same sorority and major in communications. Tully has a life goal for them both: They will become network TV anchorwomen. Tully lands an internship at KCPO-TV in Seattle and finagles a producing job for Kate. Kate no longer wishes to follow Tully into broadcasting and is more drawn to fiction writing, but she hesitates to tell her overbearing friend. Meanwhile a love triangle blooms at KCPO: Hard-bitten, irresistibly handsome, former war correspondent Johnny is clearly smitten with Tully. Expecting rejection, Kate keeps her infatuation with Johnny secret. When Tully lands a reporting job with a Today-like show, her career shifts into hyperdrive. Johnny and Kate had started an affair once Tully moved to Manhattan, and when Kate gets pregnant with daughter Marah, they marry. Kate is content as a stay-at-home mom, but frets about being Johnny’s second choice and about her unrealized writing ambitions. Tully becomes Seattle’s answer to Oprah. She hires Johnny, which spells riches for him and Kate. But Kate’s buttons are fully depressed by pitched battles over slutwear and curfews with teenaged Marah, who idolizes her godmother Tully. In an improbable twist, Tully invites Kate and Marah to resolve their differences on her show, only to blindside Kate by accusing her, on live TV, of overprotecting Marah. The BFFs are sundered. Tully’s latest attempt to salvage Cloud fails: The incorrigible, now geriatric hippie absconds once more. Just as Kate develops a spine, she’s given some devastating news. Will the friends reconcile before it’s too late?

Dated sermonizing on career versus motherhood, and conflict driven by characters’ willed helplessness, sap this tale of poignancy.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-312-36408-3

Page Count: 496

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2007

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