Eminently readable and largely remarkable.

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SURVIVOR'S GAME

Karmi’s debut, a matter-of-fact memoir focusing on his ordeals in Nazi concentration camps, strikes a relatively upbeat chord largely discordant with works by other Holocaust survivors.

Born into a Jewish family in the then-Hungarian city of Satu Mare, a young Karmi grows up in a country that is increasingly hostile to its Jewish population. With Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, the hostility becomes a matter of official policy; despite his valiant service to Austria-Hungary in World War I, David’s father’s foreign heritage results in the family’s expulsion to Poland. There, the Karmis attempt to bunk with unhelpful relations, then undertake great risks to return to Satu Mare, only to find their home and possessions seized. Soon the family is deported once again, this time to Auschwitz, where young David is separated from his parents and sister amid horrific rumors of their likely fate. David survives not only Auschwitz, but a transfer to a second camp in the ruins of the Warsaw Ghetto and then a death march to Dachau in Germany as the Allied armies close in. The author ascribes his improbable endurance to the fact that he never gave up hope—he writes in an afterword, “I always look forward to tomorrow and try to forget yesterday”—and indeed, the book lacks the tonal despair employed by fellow survivors such as Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel, instead echoing the optimism of Anne Frank’s pre-camp diaries. But perhaps just as important to David’s survival as his sunny outlook are his quick wits, good fortune and knack for making the right kinds of friends—ranging from fellow inmates who share his pluck to a sympathetic Wehrmacht lieutenant who even invites David out of the camp to his family’s home for meals. Though Karmi’s narrative loses steam once he details his post-war emigration to Palestine, his prose moves along at a respectable clip and rarely lingers on trivial details, until a handful of later chapters profiling Karmi’s successful but relatively dull American real-estate career.

Eminently readable and largely remarkable.

Pub Date: July 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-0615412955

Page Count: 280

Publisher: D.K. Montague

Review Posted Online: June 9, 2011

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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