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Another elegant memoir from a talented storyteller.

A memoirist reflects on the lessons of her father, a man with an insatiable lust for life.

“ ‘Travel light,’ my father always said. ‘Move fast,’ ” writes Fuller (Quiet Until the Thaw, 2017, etc.). “He followed that advice, practiced what he preached, like it was a key tenet of his personal religion.” The author’s anecdotal tribute to her late father brims with snippets and snatches of Tim Fuller’s whirlwind lifestyle. The first part of the narrative covers their time in Budapest, where she and her mother watched as Tim, stricken with pneumonia, died in a hospital bed. As the text progresses, Fuller peels back layer after layer of the character of her father, a highly textured world traveler who navigated life using his own compass. Leaving his native Britain behind, he set out to fight in the Rhodesian Bush War. After meeting his true love and having two daughters, they settled in Zambia, where Tim acquired a banana plantation along the Zambezi River. The author ably chronicles this tumultuous transition era, with its constantly changing governments and economic instability. But at its heart, the book is an intimate character study of a spontaneity-loving wild man who, in his younger years, amused himself swerving his car toward the “do-gooder” foreign aid workers and clearing life’s hurdles with a good smoke and a whiskey double. “For him, everything was about time,” she writes, “burning through it the way he did.” Over the decades, the wily expat continued etching his colorful legend into Zambezi Valley lore as the author made off for America, now a traveler in her own right. Tasked to come to terms with his physical absence, she sifted through a lifetime of memories in order to pen this celebration of the man whose profound influence helped shape her own worldview. Fuller writes gracefully about embracing grief as an indelible part of the human experience.

Another elegant memoir from a talented storyteller.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-59420-674-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Penguin Press

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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