Indelible characters, adventurous spirit, and acute psychological insight combine in this multilayered debut.

WELCOME TO THE GODDAMN ICE CUBE

CHASING FEAR AND FINDING HOME IN THE GREAT WHITE NORTH

A memoir of arctic adventure that goes deeper into self-discovery and finding a home.

“I’ve spent more than half my life pointed northward, trying to answer private questions about violence and belonging and cold,” writes Braverman, a dog sledder and journalist whose frequent, extended visits to Norway and Alaska began from personal circumstances but soon assumed the significance of a quest to find a place where she belonged. Her journey from innocence to experience followed the map from south to north: “While southern Norwegians took pride in their restraint…northerners were loose and vulgar. They cursed, slurred their words, joked often about sex and death, and gauged time loosely.” As a teenage foreign exchange student in Norway who later led dog sled teams for tourists in Alaska, Braverman was frequently tested by the male-dominated culture, wondering when jokes crossed the line into something more, whether she was experiencing harassment or it was just in her head. Though the narrative jumps back and forth, chronologically and geographically, the voice throughout remains as insightful and engaging as it is uncertain, from a young woman who is never quite certain if she is safe, not only from the climate, but from so-called civilization, and where danger might lie. “The thing was, nothing that had happened to me…was beyond the normal scope of what happened to women all the time. Some harassment by an authority figure, a few sexual remarks, pressure from an insistent boyfriend?” Yet her experience allowed her to recognize what had been wrong all along, as she found pleasure in sex where she didn’t feel that pressure and fell in love of her own volition. Her external experiences are extraordinary in the frigid north that so few have experienced, but it’s what happens internally that both sets this memoir apart and gives it universal resonance.

Indelible characters, adventurous spirit, and acute psychological insight combine in this multilayered debut.

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0062311566

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 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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