NAKED SLEEPER

The promise Nunez revealed in her acclaimed 1995 debut, A Feather on the Breath of God, is here fulfilled and magnified, as she follows the struggles of a woman to know her father and understand herself, labors that imperil her once secure marriage. Nona, little loved as a child and a pill-dependent insomniac as an adult, has found a measure of happiness hitherto unknown in her five-year marriage to Roy, with whom she shares a love of music and New York City life. Trouble erupts, however, during a monthlong visit to a friend's country estate, to which she retreats to work on a book about her father—an artist long dead, but out of her life even before that—when she meets brooding, handsome English prof Lyle and inexplicably finds herself opening up to him. He swamps her with love letters when they return to their respective homes, until she decides to visit him for a weekend in Tucson. His passion proves to have been written with disappearing ink, but back in New York, Nona finds that her marriage has slipped its moorings in her absence: She and Roy separate with rapidly dwindling hopes of reconciliation. In despair, she picks up the book project again, contacting her father's last lover, a man, who warms to her and reveals a side of daddy she never knew. She draws some comfort from her emerging knowledge of her father. Yoga and meditation, along with a dog, also provide comfort, enabling her to cope with a near- miss from breast cancer, and when Ray proposes a honeymoon they never had, she finds herself ready, tentatively, to begin again—a decision sorely tested when yet another unexpected disaster disrupts their lives. No dazzling, high-powered dynamics here, but, rather, a steady, superbly insightful study of a life as quietly complex as the reader's own: a tale that touches the heart of what it is to be human. ($30,000 ad/promo; author tour)

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Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-06-017276-2

Page Count: 288

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1996

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There are unforgettable beauties in this very sexy story.

TELL ME LIES

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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A LITTLE LIFE

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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