Remarkably honest. There is something both sad and deeply satisfying about watching this legendary mistress of emotional...

JEALOUSY

THE OTHER LIFE OF CATHERINE M.

The famously sexually open memoirist grapples with jealousy.

In her bestselling memoir (The Sexual Life of Catherine M, 2002), Paris art critic Millet shocked the world with her unapologetically candid descriptions of an extravagant sex life with no boundaries and, seemingly, no consequences. After losing her virginity at 18, she immediately engaged in a weeklong bacchanalia of group sex. As an adult, she moved between long-term partners, but was consistently involved in sexual relationships with other people. She eventually ended up in a committed but open marriage to a fellow critic named Jacques. Soon after, however, Millet found in Jacques’ study a series of letters and photographs indicating that he was having an emotional, as well as physical, affair with another woman. Just as with her sexual life, Millet discusses her jealousy of this woman in a detached, intellectual tone, laying it out nakedly with no sense of embarrassment—though with some personal shock at the circumstances, as if her openness toward sexual pleasure ought to have left her immune to jealousy. To cope, the author traveled through Europe, obsessing about the details of the affair, calling Jacques in various states of emotional distress and at times retreating totally within herself. There are particular moments of poignant pain—when she became physically sick, for example, and had no recollection of it until Jacques pointed it out—but for most of the book her grief is stunningly relatable, even ordinary. In the end, she clawed her way back to trusting Jacques, though the experience left a distinct mark on her spirit.

Remarkably honest. There is something both sad and deeply satisfying about watching this legendary mistress of emotional bravado crumble.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8021-1915-5

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2009

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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 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

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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

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