MixedThe Los Angeles Review of BooksEvolution of Desire is Cynthia Haven’s elegant attempt to introduce the general reader to Girard’s ideas by combining them with the story of his life ... These ideas, which Girard would develop and refine over the following decades, are simple enough in summary, and Haven does an adequate job articulating them. But her summaries lack Girard’s marvelous subtlety, sense of paradox, and psychological depth ... Her biographical treatment is effective, but only to an extent. While Haven deftly recounts the major early life events—a mischievous childhood in Avignon, an unhappy period of study in Paris during the occupation, the fateful decision in 1947 to go to the United States—her subject’s characteristic reticence minimizes their resonance ... Haven gives us a sense of Girard as charismatic and somewhat mercurial—often dazzling, genuine, and capable of great warmth, yet also sometimes insensitive and aloof—but his inner world remains mostly opaque ... That is why the book’s final chapters are so welcome ... In its tender closing chapters, Cynthia Haven’s moving portrait inspires readers to look inward and scrutinize themselves, unsparingly yet forgivingly—just as Girard would have wanted.