A fascinating exploration of personal identity from a writer whose body is, thankfully, “no longer at war.”

TELL ME EVERYTHING YOU DON'T REMEMBER

THE STROKE THAT CHANGED MY LIFE

The stroke that hit Lee at age 33 left no visible signs of trauma, but it still changed her life forever.

A decade ago, the stealthy heart condition secretly lurking deep within the author since birth created a blood clot that shot through her body and lodged itself in her head, where “it killed a part of my brain.” Lee was standing in a hardware store parking lot at the time, thinking how odd it was that the shiny red snowblowers on display were suddenly and inexplicably “rotated ninety degrees.” What follows is the author’s emotionally explicit and intensely circumspect chronicle of how she dealt with what doctors later determined to be a thalamic stroke. “In those first few weeks,” writes Lee, “I was lost without knowing I was lost. I was searching with a deep belief that all would be well, not out of resilience or hope but out of ignorant bliss….My world was that [hospital] room, and in that room my struggles had little measured impact.” Unable to retain information, suffering from aphasia, and repeatedly rereading the same page of Slaughterhouse-Five over and over again, Lee eventually realized that she had to learn to confront older, deep-seated attitudes about her body and brain. She contemplates the years slavishly devoted to using her prized brain to subdue a seemingly undesirable body. That introspection, in turn, opened new doorways onto troubled relationships with her traumatized parents and increasingly distant husband. Forced to compensate for the dead part of her brain, Lee slowly achieved a new sense of gratitude for the body she had previously so reviled and mistreated. The journey of self-discovery is given an illuminating boost when the hole in her heart is finally repaired. With careful thought and new understanding, the author explores the enduring mind-body connection with herself at the nexus of it all.

A fascinating exploration of personal identity from a writer whose body is, thankfully, “no longer at war.”

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-242215-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Ecco/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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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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