Pleasant enough in a punny way, but awfully British. Lots of sex to compensate for the lame jokes.

SPIN CYCLE

Can a divorced stand-up comedienne find happiness with a washing-machine repairman?

Sure, says the author of Neurotica (1999)—particularly when her dentist fiancé is away in South Africa. Rachel Katz isn’t positive she wants to marry Adam anyway, even if her mum is busily planning the wedding. Oh, well. Adam makes a good living even if he is deadly dull and prone to nosebleeds; and, despite her dreams of glory, Rachel isn’t exactly setting audiences on fire at the Anarchist Bathmat comedy club. Shelley, her best friend and neighbor, a health-food nut with gigantic bosoms, lends a sympathetic ear. Freewheeling Shelley isn’t sure Rachel should marry Adam, either. Rachel’s ten-year-old son Sam is indifferent, but he doesn’t really think about anything except his growing collection of Barbra Streisand records. Is it possible he’s gay like his father? Rachel frets over this until Matt Clapton, a hunky washing-machine repairman, becomes a distraction. He thinks she’s hysterically funny, and he’s happy to be her (cough, cough) handyman. Rachel feels a few pangs of guilt for cheating, but she reasons that it doesn’t matter since she and Adam hardly ever had sex. She’s got other things to worry about: her mum is having a bikini wax and shopping for revealing underwear. What on earth? Then she catches her parents doing something wild with another elderly couple! The truth comes out: Mum and Dad are baring their wrinkly bottoms for a how-to sex video for seniors. Oh, well. No big deal compared to the latest news flash from South Africa: Adam’s dumping her for an anorexic dental hygienist who starches her underwear. Rachel can’t worry about that now: she’s getting ready for a big comedy competition, which she just might win if an Aussie upstart doesn’t steal all her material. Life goes on, and so do the silly contrivances.

Pleasant enough in a punny way, but awfully British. Lots of sex to compensate for the lame jokes.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2001

ISBN: 0-440-50923-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Delta

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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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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