An uplifting story of overcoming significant odds to fulfill a dream.

THE ENCORE

A MEMOIR IN THREE ACTS

A renowned American soprano tells the “personal mythology of [her] opera.”

At the beginning of her career, an academy teacher told Tillemann-Dick, “to be a Great, you need three things…you must get very sick, you must fall in love, and you must work, work, work. Then, in ten years, you will really be something.” As her debut memoir shows, she did all three with impressive grace and dignity. The author splits the book into three acts to mimic the structure of an opera and show her rise and fall. In the beginning, Tillemann-Dick had all the makings of a great singing career: talent, connections, and luck. However, her prospects looked bleak when she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension. She learned that she needed a lung transplant or she would die within a few years. Thankfully, the author had a large, supportive family behind her as she tried to reconcile her illness with her passion for singing. Throughout the book, she describes not only herself, but her family members (she has 10 siblings) in a relatable fashion. Even though there are a lot of characters, they are all sufficiently fleshed out. Tillemann-Dick ably shows the grueling process of trying to get healthy, keeping the tone upbeat while effectively demonstrating the gravity of the situation. As she was healing, she fell in love; while her relationship was far from perfect, it was enduring and necessary to her recovery. As the narrative ends, readers see that the author has achieved the kind of greatness she was seeking: “I’ve fallen in love, I’ve gotten very sick, and I’ve worked more than I ever knew was possible….Even the great divas die. But like a timeless melody, true greatness never does.”

An uplifting story of overcoming significant odds to fulfill a dream.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-0231-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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