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THERE WILL BE NO MIRACLES HERE

A MEMOIR

Hardly a by-the-numbers memoir, this is a powerful book marked by the author’s refreshingly complicated and insightful...

A memoir of a religious, gay black man coming to terms with his own nuanced achievement of the American dream in the new millennium.

The narrative opens in 1999, with the 12-year-old author waiting for the end, praying nervously in his grandfather’s evangelical church before the turn of the millennium: “Lord, please take me with You when You come. That is all I have to ask of God, and I will get my answer soon. It is 11:57.” When midnight passes without incident, the meaning of the book’s title becomes manifest. The son of a star quarterback, Gerald grew up on the poor side of Dallas, where he also excelled at football, and he soon moved on to the distant planets of higher education and elite society. As he writes, “I have been so many things along my curious journey: a poor boy, a nigger, a Yale man, a Harvard man, a faggot, a Christian, a crack baby (alleged), the spawn of Satan, the Second Coming, Casey.” The author deftly navigates through the events shaping those identities: the months of his first true romance, his time at Yale and Harvard Business School, where he earned a master’s degree in business and was a Rhodes Scholar finalist; Wall Street; and a stint in Washington, D.C., on the strong career advice to “be a special assistant to someone at the top.” Along the way, Gerald examines the subtext underlying the clashing realities of his experiences and observations. “[I was] a boy defined by his circumstances,” the author writes in nearly the middle of the well-paced narrative, “perhaps we all are—just seven billion Eves made from the rib of our Adam-circumstance—but why do we lie about it? Why don’t we want to believe it? Is it that it shames us to admit how limited our power is, how much we can submit—have submitted—to the things we did not choose?”

Hardly a by-the-numbers memoir, this is a powerful book marked by the author’s refreshingly complicated and insightful storytelling.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7352-1420-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

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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INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

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