PARALLEL WORLDS

AN ANTHROPOLOGIST AND A WRITER ENCOUNTER AFRICA

An all-too-familiar memoir of cultural clash, misperceptions, and Western gall, told by a husband-and-wife team. Looking for a tribe to study for her dissertation, Gottlieb (Anthropology/University of Illinois) lighted on the Beng of the Ivory Coast rain forest. Despite their small numbers, the Beng offered everything that Gottlieb required: anonymity, animist religion, and isolation from the westernizing influence of the large West African cities where French is spoken and locals snack on baguettes instead of yams. Financed by the usual grants, equipped with the usual plethora of academic and tropical gear, and enduring the usual delays in acquiring permits, Gottlieb and Graham (Creative Writing/University of Illinois) finally arrived in the small village of KosangbÇ. They were to spend a year there, Gottlieb gathering material for her dissertation and Graham writing—he'd already published stories, including one in The New Yorker. In alternating sections here, the two record their experiences of settling into a village understandably hostile to their constant questions and very presence; of learning a new language and way of life; of dealing with emergencies as big as the near-fatal snakebite of a small child and as minor as the breaking of a taboo by sniffing the contents of cooking pots; and of coming to appreciate the intense belief in a hidden spirit world that inexorably shaped the villagers' daily lives. This is the ``invisible world'' that, Graham says, makes artists, as well as the villagers, experience ``parallel'' lives. But the couple finally understand that, despite their best intentions, inevitably infused with Western naivetÇ, there would always be ``some invisible border that prevented full citizenship in the Beng circle.'' Graham's words add a refreshing sensitivity to Gottlieb's more precise narrative, but neither author offers surprises, just the usual trials and tribulations of fieldwork. Still, for fans of the genre, a satisfying read.

Pub Date: April 7, 1993

ISBN: 0-517-58342-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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