CONSTANCIA AND OTHER STORIES FOR VIRGINS

This second collection (Burnt Water, 1980) of five long stories from Fuentes (Christopher Unborn, The Old Gringo, etc.) is full of sound, fury, and various linguistic innovations, as well as a sustained meditation on the relationship between art and life. Although Fuentes is best in his novels, where he has a broader canvas, there is much spirited satire here, along with some tedium. The best is "Reasonable People": a group of students meets every month for lunch, often with their mentor, an architect with aeautiful daughter. They all love the daughter, who plans to marry a politician, and are much taken with the architect's interest in "a sacred center, a point of orientation." In Mexico, "the problem is whether or not to believe in the sacred." Many words are spilt on these matters, and part two, the payoff, is a compelling fable on the nature of miracles and faith. "Constancia," a meditation on exile, is about a doctor who lives in Savannah with Constancia, near a Russian actor who is close to death: thinking about "old age as a series of renunciations of what we loved when we were young," the narrator investigates his wife's history after she recovers from an illness and discovers that, in fact, she is not the exile he has imagined, but a woman from whose real life he has been mostly excluded. "The Prisoner of Las Lomas" is a long, busy tale, a postmodern O. Henry story; "Viva Mi Fama" begins with a man leaving his wife in Madrid and quickly becomes phantasmagoric, ending with an apocalyptic finish that includes Goya; and "La Desdichada" is a spirited satire about two students who bring home a mannequin and fall in love with it. Fuentes' fans may appreciate his wire-walking here, while others will be reminded of better things he's done.

Pub Date: April 1, 1990

ISBN: 0330310909

Page Count: 340

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1990

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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