An evocative account of a man coming to terms with his youth.

THE ENDERS HOTEL

A MEMOIR

Memories of a boyhood spent among the beaten-down boarders who drifted through his family’s hotel in a rural Idaho town.

Since 1919, the three-story brick hotel, complete with café and bar, has anchored downtown Soda Springs, the prosperity of which has always been tied to the notorious vicissitudes of mining, farming and ranching. Schrand’s family had the misfortune of running the hotel during a period of decline—the author’s grandparents purchased the property in 1975 for $250,000 and sold it in 1992 for $85,000—when the once-grand edifice required as much repair as its motley patrons. Schrand (Creative Writing/Univ. of Idaho) sprinkles portraits of these folks—“Kid” Barger, a once famous boxer; Maya, an artist and recovering alcoholic; Vic, the ex-con; Trapper Jim, who scrounged the hotel alleyway for bait; Larry, who shot and killed his best friend—throughout the narrative. For a young child, the hotel exerted a certain kind of magic, which Schrand effectively captures in his reminiscences: exploring the vast basement with its collection of abandoned suitcases; sitting at a stool in the café eating burgers and sodas; anticipating the extra excitement that came with hunting season; building a clubhouse near the geyser out back; constructing a raft to “escape” from Soda Springs. Holding the enterprise—and to a large extent, young Schrand’s life—together were his grandparents, whose charity and decency reassured a boy who never knew his father. As Schrand grew older, work and responsibilities mounted, as did the feeling that the hotel might be a failing venture. He worked out his resentment and anger in acts of gratuitous cruelty and petty vandalism that threatened to mark him for a future not so different from the dead-enders the hotel often sheltered.

An evocative account of a man coming to terms with his youth.

Pub Date: May 16, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-8032-1769-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Bison/Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2008

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more