Quirky and intriguing, this story of bicultural life and familial ruptures transcends the particulars of Meston’s own...

COMES THE PEACE

MY JOURNEY TO FORGIVENESS

A memoir recounting a 1960s fantasy—and nightmare—come to life.

Meston was born in Switzerland to “wanderlust hippies” who had changed their last name from Greenberg to the more poetic Greeneye. Though his mother had always claimed that she didn’t want children, Feather Greeneye took one look at her baby son and tearfully declared that she was thrilled to have “someone to love completely.” It didn’t turn out that way. Enamored of the teachings of Indian spiritual master Meher Baba, Meston’s parents moved their small family to Dharamsala. Meston was left in the care of a Tibetan family while his parents spent a month meditating under the tutelage of Lama Zopa Rinpoche. During that month, Meston’s father “snapped,” and his mother decided to become a Buddhist nun. On the advice of a Lama, Meston’s mother left him for good with a Tibetan family; she embraced her new monastic vocation, and promised she would visit when she could. At age six, Meston was sent to a monastery where he would begin training as a Buddhist monk. The author offers a generous reading of his mother’s strange—arguably negligent—choice: She didn’t want her son to have the same superficial childhood she’d had in the United States, and thought Buddhist monasticism would provide him with meaning. Eventually, as a teenager, Meston went to the U.S. to attend high school. The culture shock he experienced is both funny and pathetic. The concluding chapters’ chronicle of the author’s adult years is a tad less engrossing. Eventually, he went to college, reconciled with his mother and, with his wife, opened a boutique that specializes in Indian fabrics.

Quirky and intriguing, this story of bicultural life and familial ruptures transcends the particulars of Meston’s own autobiography.

Pub Date: March 6, 2007

ISBN: 0-7432-8747-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2006

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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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