An intelligent, evocative, and richly textured memoir.

RIVERINE

A MEMOIR FROM ANYWHERE BUT HERE

The haunting account of how the author tried to escape her rural Indiana past.

Ink + Lead Literary Services owner Palm (Please Do Not Remove: A Collection Celebrating Vermont Literature and Libraries, 2014) grew up in a community claimed from the waters of the Kankakee River, which had been rerouted to create farmland. Early on she realized that she was not like other blue-collar “rural folk” whose lives entwined with the land; rather, she was a “bookish fishergirl who longed for the social opportunities of a cookie-cutter subdivision.” Unable to move past the narrow confines of her social and physical isolation, Palm first sought refuge in religion. She experimented with both Christian and non-Christian faiths and belief systems; eventually, meditation became her one reliable way “out of that riverbed.” While the author embraced the power of her mind and imagination to rise above an existence measured by cycles of flood and drought, fellow outsider—and secret object of desire—Corey sank into the “rot” of riverine life by “rejecting school and authority” and becoming a convicted murderer. Deeply troubled by Corey’s descent into criminality but determined to break free of the muddy quicksand of river life, Palm, whose own uncle had been imprisoned for attempted murder, went to college and studied criminal justice. Her path took her first to Indianapolis and then, after marriage, to Vermont. Yet despite the distance she put between her riverbed upbringing and the trauma of Corey’s lifetime incarceration, both remained with her. Only after she was able to return to Indiana to visit Corey in prison could she make peace with her past and a heart that, according to her corresponding palm line, looked like “an aerial cartography of the river where we grew up.” Densely symbolic, unsentimental, and eloquent, Palm’s book explores the connections between yearning, desire, and homecoming with subtlety and lucidity. The result is a narrative that maps the complex relationships that exist between individual identity and place.

An intelligent, evocative, and richly textured memoir.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55597-746-7

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graywolf

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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

NIGHT

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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