Sometimes-provocative material residing in a collection that often feels forced together.



An eclectic collection finds Lazar (Creative Writing/Columbia Coll., Chicago; Occasional Desire, 2013, etc.) attempting to reach beyond category, or at least beyond the personal essay.

The author’s hyper self-awareness may well be a mark of the personal essayist, often tempered by self-deprecation or wry humor, but the tone here is generally too elevated for that. Even the opening essay, “Ann; Death and the Maiden” is mostly about Lazar, who confesses, “writing this makes me queasy. I hope for obvious reasons.” Maybe not as queasy as readers, who learn about the writer’s former student, manic-depressive and suicidal, still married, with whom he conducted a sexually explosive relationship of “film noirish meetings in back alleys and cheap motels.” She wouldn’t take her medication and went off the rails, and they drifted apart; ultimately, he found out about her death on Facebook. “Have I been a flaneur of some of my own darkest impulses with some of my friends and a woman I’ve loved, being close enough to my own worst-case scenarios to feel their hot breath while watching others take the heat?” Both “flaneur” and “queasy” seem to be touchstones in the author’s writing, though he insists in a conversation on the essay (the collection’s longest piece) that when he writes of himself, it is never “just for the sake of my own self-analysis. The idea of that makes me queasy.” There are distinct parts to this collection: memoir-ish personal essays, ones that are more academic about the nature of the essay and the relationship of writer and reader, and a series of aphorisms that features a section on “Mothers, Etc.,” with drawings to illustrate. Among the nonmother aphorisms: “Far from the madding crowd—inside it. The flaneur”; “Hell is where you mostly live; heaven is where you rehab.”

Sometimes-provocative material residing in a collection that often feels forced together.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4962-0206-2

Page Count: 248

Publisher: Univ. of Nebraska

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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



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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This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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