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DREAM LOVER

BOOK THREE OF PAM OF BABYLON

A gritty, realistic portrait of the aftermath of deceit.

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A man’s infidelity rocks the lives of many New York women five months after his death, as former lovers discover that he was infected with more than just an electric personality.

Jenkins’ sequel to Don’t You Forget About Me explores a new set of women linked to financial giant Jack Smith. Pam Smith, grieving her husband’s death, suffers the haunting news that she is infected with AIDS. She searches for a way to cope with the pain Jack caused as she comforts the other women Jack infected during their estranged marriage. A cast of sympathetic characters filters in and out of the Smith household, illustrating the complexity of a marriage that seemed tranquil on the surface but was furious and unpredictable underneath. More than six women, including Pam’s sister, Marie, and Jack’s co-worker Sandra, had affairs with Jack. Pam, meanwhile, cannot help but wonder why she is extending herself to those who deceived her, taking on the responsibility Jack should have endured had he lived to see his own path of destruction. Jenkins blends Pam’s omniscient narration with monologues from each of the secondary characters, providing resolution and a range of perspectives on Jack, Pam and life with AIDS. While each character brings his or her own drama and complexity, they unite in a blend of love and hate for the toxic yet irresistible Jack. Jenkins shows the reader all sides of Jack, even the tender and vulnerable: Maryanne, one of Jack’s girlfriends, has a daughter with birth defects, with whom Jack had a close relationship and for whom he established a large trust fund.

A gritty, realistic portrait of the aftermath of deceit.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-1468126235

Page Count: 322

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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A LITTLE LIFE

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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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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