A valedictory work full of erudition and heart.


The late, great Mexican novelist and critic (1928-2012) offers a personal history of the fiction he admired.

Fuentes (Destiny and Desire, 2011, etc.) has few harsh words for anyone in this history (though he calls some work by Ken Follett “startlingly bad”), which commences in the 16th century with Bernal Díaz del Castillo’s True History of the Conquest of New Spain, a work that Fuentes identifies as the first novel of Latin America. Early on, the author begins referring to some literary lions who roared elsewhere, writers to whom he returns throughout this richly detailed and idiosyncratic work—among them, Cervantes, Proust, and Faulkner. In many ways a scholarly work as well, the text alludes to Max Weber, Erasmus, Rousseau, and other intellectual notables. Fuentes writes frequently about the novelists’ use of time, place, and, most of all, language. The organization is chronological at first and later, geographical, as he looks at the novels of writers from Chile, Brazil, Nicaragua, Peru, and elsewhere. (He admits a sort of “Mexican bias,” but he also spends a lot of time with Argentinian writers.) Fuentes is also aware of a male dominance and makes a serious effort, especially in the final quarter of the book, to highlight novels by women. Effusive praise appears often, and he features such locutions as, “his prose is as bright and clear as day,” and “a brilliant, richly textured book.” A subtitle for this book could be Novels I Have Loved. Fuentes occasionally offers declarations about the novel (“There can be no literature without the body”) and also provides, in instructional fashion, lists of writers and works and commonalities among them. In moments that have enormous contemporary resonance, he argues powerfully for the great advantages of immigration.

A valedictory work full of erudition and heart.

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62897-130-9

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Dalkey Archive

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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