Although an awkward read, the book abounds in great stories and terrific movie trivia that will sate Lynch fans for years to...

ROOM TO DREAM

It takes a tag-team effort to tell this ambitious life of the enigmatic filmmaker and artist.

Lynch (Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, 2006) has always been an outsider when it comes to his films, art, and photography, so it comes as no surprise that this dual biography/autobiography is “strange,” as the authors describe it. Journalist and friend McKenna (The Ferus Gallery: A Place to Begin, 2009, etc.) pens an insightful, well-researched, conventional biography in chapters drawing mostly on interviews. Lynch’s chapters follow hers, responding like “a person having a conversation with his own biography.” Inevitably, there is repetition, and it’s not uncommon for McKenna to tell a story one way and Lynch to tell it differently. Lynch comes across as an amiable, chatty fellow who wears his brilliance lightly. He writes lovingly of his “dreamy,” itinerant, middle-class childhood where the roots for his films were first planted. He enthusiastically describes how he felt after receiving an American Film Institute grant that would allow him to make his first feature film, Eraserhead. McKenna writes that “John Waters encouraged his fans” to see it, and Stanley Kubrick “loved” it. It also got Mel Brooks’ attention, and he asked Lynch to direct The Elephant Man for his production company. Lynch describes making the film as a “baptism of fire.” It was “a beautiful story and a beautiful experience and it’s timeless.” Next came Dune, which “brought him to his knees,” McKenna writes—but it also “helped clarify precisely who he is as a filmmaker.” It was a “good thing,” Lynch responds, “to have a humiliating major failure.” In the end, Lynch sums it all up: “It’s impossible to really tell the story of somebody’s life, and the most we can hope to convey here is a very abstract ‘Rosebud.’ ”

Although an awkward read, the book abounds in great stories and terrific movie trivia that will sate Lynch fans for years to come.

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-58919-5

Page Count: 592

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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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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