A small gem: still brilliantly alive and relevant.




Intimate reflections from one of postwar Germany’s most admired novelists (Winterspelt, 1978, etc.) on life under Hitler and, in the act of deserting an army at war, his own profound emancipation.

Though controversial when first published in Germany in 1952 (the German government has never formally pardoned Wehrmacht deserters), current readers may wonder what fascination remains in ruminations on the Third Reich by a writer who, while a giant by his countrymen’s standards, had very little work circulated in English. Hulse’s foreword effectively piques curiosity, however, noting that Andersch’s force as a stylist is what transcends an undercurrent of compromise—he divorced his Jewish wife at her peril in 1943—that dogged even an admiring biographer. Andersch glosses over that incident but not his father’s (a WWI hero) Nazi connections as instrumental in getting him out of the Dachau concentration camp after being arrested as a Communist Party organizer in 1933. Though fluent in reflection on Communism’s futile agenda, Andersch would not forget the Nazis who “made the struggle of my youth meaningless and made an introvert of me.” Called into service twice during the war, Andersch finds himself an infantryman in Italy in 1944 with an almost comic-opera opportunity to desert. Therein lies, of course, a moral dilemma, resolved with the author’s achieving a conviction that no human being should be beholden to any system that requires following all orders without question. “All I had was the aesthetics of my art and my private life,” he writes, “and these they destroyed by calling me up. Take up arms—for them? Even to entertain the notion was an absurdity.” But persuade others to desert as well? “No,” says Andersch with searing finality, “I did not love my comrades in arms.”

A small gem: still brilliantly alive and relevant.

Pub Date: June 28, 2004

ISBN: 1-59264-052-4

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Toby Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2004

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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