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A fruitful discussion of authorship.

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A collection of question-and-answer sessions that offer in-depth insights into the writing craft.

Mendenhall (The Southern Philosopher, 2017), the editor of the Southern Literary Review, has long been drawn to interviews with creatives and artists—an interest that he’s fueled over the years by perusing the hallowed archives of the Paris Review. As an associate dean at the Jones School of Law at Faulkner University, it’s perhaps unsurprising that he’s also highly aware of the various ways in which “people respond differently to probing inquiry.” However, one never gets the sense that the 46 writers he interviews in this book are being put on the stand; on the contrary, Mendenhall’s lines of questioning are subtle, and he successfully fulfills his stated intention of letting “the writers do the talking.” This collection will familiarize readers with the approaches, techniques, and concerns of a diverse set of authors in a broad range of genres. Mendenhall’s interviewees include crime-fiction writer D.J. Donaldson, historical-romance novelist F. Diane Pickett, and (twice) poet and essayist Julia Nunnally Duncan, among many others. The Q-and-A’s touch on a spectrum of issues and offer rich and varied discussion as well as powerful sound bites. Memoirist Robert P. Waxler, for instance, offers compelling commentary on the importance of books in a world increasingly dominated by “screen culture”: “Screens invite us to watch, to surf the current that pulls us along. By contrast, books, especially literature…slow us down, offer an opportunity…to become self-reflective.” Historical novelist Steve Wiegenstein speaks of the exhilaration of writing: “It’s the closest I’ll ever get to walking the high wire.” And YA novelist Colleen D. Scott writes of her desire to expose the impact of social segregation: “I fear that lately we are showing the signs that we might forget how important it is to recognize our similarities and cherish our differences.” A foreword by author and Mississippi State University professor Robert West, which ponders the construction and meanings of the words “discover” and “interview,” is mildly interesting, if superfluous. Overall, though, this is a delightfully engaging collection that will educate and inspire other writers.

A fruitful discussion of authorship.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73273-832-4

Page Count: 232

Publisher: Red Dirt Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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