Enigmatic yet practical poetry aimed at those too certain of life’s truths.



Debut author Sihag’s collection of poems addressing truth and freedom in relation to faith.

Sihag uses verse to explore humanity’s desire for truth and mistaken roads toward that desire. The author focuses especially on two disparate concepts; both are aimed at truth and yet, in the author’s eyes, miss it—atheism and religion. The cold logic of atheism, as well as the restrictions of religion, take individuals away from eternal truths. She notes, for instance: “The atheist—leaps to the most logical conclusion….A religionist loses all perspective in his confusion.” Sihag seems to argue instead for a personal and experiential approach to the divine. “Do not confuse God with religion,” she notes, “you see / The whole world is lost in such details.” Likewise, she warns the atheist, “[I]t is such a serious thing to repudiate God without care.” Not all of Sihag’s poems are so overtly faith-oriented in content. Some are more pastoral or therapeutic. For instance, “Why Me?” explores someone’s death from illness. “Beyond” is a brief poem that looks at the beauty of snowflakes and sees a glimpse into the eternal and infinite. All entries conclude with one or more verses from the Bible to underscore their lessons. Though simple rhyming schemes make the poetry seem elementary at first, it soon becomes clear that each poem’s meaning is opaque and mysterious, requiring deeper reading and pondering by the reader. Sihag’s work actually harkens back to the qualities of ancient Hebrew wisdom writings, such as Ecclesiastes. In eschewing simple, black-and-white versions of truth accepted by society at large and, instead, considering the ambiguities of life and accepting them for what they are, Sihag shares a worldview and style dating back to the time of Solomon.

Enigmatic yet practical poetry aimed at those too certain of life’s truths.

Pub Date: Dec. 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-1492185635

Page Count: 202

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2014

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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 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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This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955

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