Everyone should be easily pleased with these six pieces which have appeared in The New Yorker over the past ten years and...

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JOHN IS EASY TO PLEASE: Encounters with the Written and the Spoken Word

Everyone should be easily pleased with these six pieces which have appeared in The New Yorker over the past ten years and which have, as a nexus, the spoken or written word. It might be George Sherry, former UN interpreter who mastered four languages as a child and came here from Eastern Europe to deal with one ""split second linguistic crisis"" after another. He could even dub in a Shakespeare quotation for Pushkin. Or the BBC's Haley who has promoted its renascence since the '40's by promoting the heightened illusion of telling rather than showing. Or Sir Basil of Oxford's Black-well's bookshop where 400 employees now deal with 25,000 books a year in an atmosphere of hallowed dignity and diligence (""A day's work must be done in a day""). Or two Urdu poets, very briefly, or at some length the piece on Noam Chomsky and his schism with the structural linguists -- he's the rather circular innovator of ""all the mysteries of ideas being innate as capacities."" And there's a lovely interlude with the Indian writer Narayan, a very happy presence and the conservator of his own cosmos. One resorts to the words that sometimes do not fully communicate how civilized, graceful, and observant a writer Mr. Mehta is -- he connects, extends and gratifies simultaneously.

Pub Date: May 21, 1971

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1971