BENDING TIME

Novelist Minot delivers a second collection of well-tuned fictions (after Crossings, 1975, not reviewed)—all perfectly balanced in their ability to evoke, enchant, and engage. As the title suggests, the 12 stories here focus on the powerful, often corrosive effect that time's passage can have on memories and our expectations. The volume is divided into three parts: ``Bending Time and Memory,'' in which the characters are inextricably bound to the past; ``Time in Exile,'' which reveals the disjointed lives of Americans living abroad; and ``Time in the American City.'' ``The Senator's Son'' (in Part III) subtly depicts the strained relationship between a prominent US senator and his estranged, antiestablishment son, the two now brought together for the funeral of the young man's mother. Their futile tug-of-war, with the senator trying to reclaim his golden boy of the past, with his beach bum son negating his father's dreams at every turn, ends with a pathetic arm-wrestling contest to determine control. Some of the most compelling pieces focus on Americans living in exile, literally and emotionally. ``Exiles'' portrays the bittersweet reunion of a son and his father on the latter's 70th birthday. All the players in the story are exiles of some sort: Robert's father has spent the last 35 years in Geneva as an academic; Robert lives in Paris with his wife, who herself feels disconnected from her rural hometown; and finally there's their friend Sigmund, German and black, who feels lost and without a homeland. ``A Death in Paris'' begins with the death of Victor, a longtime Paris resident famous for his generosity and charm, and follows the alarming discoveries about Victor and his double life made by two of his old American friends. What they find throws into question the validity of their memories and of the past itself. A fine example of the power and resonance of short fiction.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1997

ISBN: 1-877946-96-6

Page Count: 190

Publisher: Permanent Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1997

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 13

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2015

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    winner

  • National Book Award Finalist

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

Did you like this book?

more