LOST PROPERTY

MEMORIES AND CONFESSIONS OF A BAD BOY

The founder of Grand Street offers an erudite and prickly memoir about friendships with intellectuals and socialites, dozens of love affairs, and his struggles to emerge from the shadow of his powerful father. Sonnenberg's father was a P.R. whiz who supplemented his professional success by collecting antiques and throwing elaborate parties at his Gramercy Park mansion. Overweight as a child, Sonnenberg spoke in epigrams and vied for power with the servants. At age 15, his marathon of womanizing began when he tricked a Radcliffe graduate student into bed by telling her he was an editor of the Partisan Review. From then on, he went from woman to woman, many of whom were older and hypereducated. He tried to dazzle his psychiatrists with his knowledge of obscure analytic theory; he developed a taste for handmade suits; he traveled in Europe and made famous friends (Orson Welles, Glenn Gould, Ted Hughes). He was briefly employed by the CIA, interviewing Hungarian refugees, but his life was mostly parties, books, and women. Then, at 34, a strange series of falls began, and some time later he was diagnosed as suffering from MS. After the death of both parents left him with money to disperse, he started Grand Street and discovered the pleasure of working as an ``accompanist: essential but subordinate'' to other writers. Sonnenberg marshals razor-sharp anecdotes, obscure literary references, and a keen eye for the telling detail to relate his story, which is by no means always pretty. A perceptive, unapologetic self-portrait by an unrepentantly self-involved man.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-671-70188-6

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1991

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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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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