THE GRIMALDIS OF MONACO

THE CENTURIES OF SCANDAL--THE YEARS OF GRACE

Veteran celebrity-biographer Edwards (Wallis, 1991, etc.) does her best with Prince Rainier and his ancestors, but the Grimaldis as a dynasty seem more bent on survival than on cutting a heroic figure. Europe's oldest dynasty was founded in 1215, when wealthy Genoese merchant Rainier Grimaldi established a fortress on the rock that was to become the heart of the principality. The place was soon under siege from a rebellious nephew; and during subsequent centuries the rulers of Monaco have had to contend with threats from family members, neighboring France and Italy, and magnates like Aristotle Onassis. The Grimaldis also once held the title of ``prince of France,'' which endowed the family with great prestige and proved especially useful during those centuries when marriage to a very rich woman was the only form of respectable entrepreneurship open to improvident aristocrats. As absentee landlords who preferred to live in Paris, the Grimaldis neglected Monaco itself—that ``sunny place for shady people,'' as it was once described by Somerset Maugham. Not until a Princess Caroline of the mid-1800's had the brilliant idea of building a casino did the principality become wealthy and self-supporting—though this solution wasn't exactly approved of by such people as Queen Victoria, who refused to visit the Grimaldis in their palace. Extravagant and apparently prone to making bad judgments (Prince Rainier's grandfather saved the family and his fortune by collaborating with the Nazis) and bad marriages (Edwards excepts the marriage to Grace Kelly), the family has lurched from one scandal and financial disaster to another, though Edwards feels that the present prince, decent and well-intentioned, is doing good things for his family and country. Competently written and researched, but, apart from the Grace Kelly years, the Grimaldis come off here as a rather shabby and dull lot. (B&w photos—48—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 1992

ISBN: 0-688-08837-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1992

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

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

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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