An agreeable miscellany of minor du Maurier: 15 early stories (previously collected only in paperback), ten bits of family history and personal memoir, three poems, and a few pages of working notes for the novel Rebecca. As for this "Rebecca Notebook," du Maurier's chatty introduction says it best: "Perhaps the reader may care to compare it, and the original epilogue, with the published novel. If not, never mind. Skip through it, then turn to my early stories!" These are mostly mini-melodramas, many of them reflecting the era's pervasive Maugham influence: a matinee idol is shaken by a visit from an old flame who looks her age; an employee recognizes his boss' fiancÉe as a shady lady; a thief-prostitute tells her life story; a star actress manipulates a puritanical producer, sabotaging a threateningly good actor; a clergyman, envious of a young colleague's charisma, takes hypocritical revenge; an aging writer, infatuated with a girl and jealous of her lover, transcends this situation through his art; a gigolo-ish lover two-times his clinging mistress. . . . Heavy ironies, one or two maudlin embarrassments, some wretched prose ("Subconsciously, in the depth of her being. . .")—but the storytelling knack is there, especially in a charmer about the "dullest man" in town and his wild transformation. Rather less diverting are bland biographical sketches of novelist-grandpa George du Maurier and actor-father Gerald. And only a few flickers of wit enliven musings on fame ("anticlimax"), romantic love ("an illusion"), religion, telepathy ("neglect of this sixth sense has contributed to our problems throughout the ages"), widowhood, moving, and loneliness. Part pure fluff, part inspirational—a friendly, unpretentious du Maurier grab-bag.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1980

ISBN: 0385158858

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1980

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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