A masterpiece of historical and personal investigation, perfect for anyone trying to uncover their family’s past.

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NUESTRA AMÉRICA

MY FAMILY IN THE VERTIGO OF TRANSLATION

The noted anthropologist and historian takes his rich family history and builds a narrative of universal significance.

“Like the medieval Jew,” writes Lomnitz, “today’s migrant is at once a demeaned witness and a key economic player. Necessary, but always made to feel dispensable.” Born in Chile in 1957, the author, a professor at Columbia University, understands the plight of migrants: His maternal grandparents, seeing the terrors of rising anti-Semitism across Europe (and especially in Romania, where the peasantry and the government alike mounted murderous pogroms), brought his mother to Colombia in 1936. As if enacting a scene from a Gabriel García Márquez novel, having been brought up speaking four languages, the imposition of a fifth, Spanish, caused her to abandon “trying to find any consistency between all these languages, and [she] just stopped talking altogether.” In a whirl of new lands—Peru, Israel, the U.S., and Mexico among them—Lomnitz’s ancestors were observers and actors alike. Selling goods door to door on first arriving, they became masters of local geography and political organizing, with one busily turning from journalism to teaching to activism, daring to invoke Trotsky in a time when Stalin’s oppression was at its apex. Along his skillfully constructed narrative path, Lomnitz pauses to ponder such matters as the meaning of his name. “Names, like passports, often contain a trace of fear,” he writes, with his own first name chosen so that he might blend into a Chile that was not altogether innocent of anti-Semitism, his middle name honoring a dead uncle, and a secret Hebrew name added in for good measure. There is no end of intriguing anecdotes in these pages, and in a world of chaos, Lomnitz builds deep meaning from a comparatively small community of blood kin and friends. “We are no longer governed by tradition,” he writes, “so we can’t simply rely on a collective past. For this reason family history is again relevant.”

A masterpiece of historical and personal investigation, perfect for anyone trying to uncover their family’s past.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Other Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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