A streamlined and breezily engaging—but impressively rigorous—evaluation of a unique film talent; essential reading for fans...

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DAVID LYNCH

THE MAN FROM ANOTHER PLACE

The director of programming at the Film Society of Lincoln Center delivers a short, sharp reckoning with the dangerous visions of celebrated filmmaker David Lynch.

Lim’s admirably concise consideration of Lynch’s career explores the director’s distinctive sensibility in thoughtful but accessible prose that displays both a sophisticated understanding of cinema and a rare talent for analysis and explication that avoids academic dryness or superficial gush. A personality as famously eccentric as Lynch’s demands some degree of biographical context, but Lim resists the urge to locate the signature psychosexual horrors of Lynch’s work in his upbringing and early experiences, instead effectively sketching a portrait of the artist as a relatively normal, if not particularly verbal, fellow who practices his craft not as a mystical naif but as a serious, dedicated artist committed to process and wary of intellectual analysis of the work. Lynch’s narrative preoccupations and morbid, gothic, bizarrely comic aesthetic were present from his first short films, and Lim traces the evolution and expansion of Lynch’s pet themes—duality, heightened contrast, the secrets and mysteries hidden in the mundane—throughout his mercurial career. Projects deemed failures, including the mystifying sci-fi boondoggle Dune and the intensely personal, alienating Twin Peaks sequel Fire Walk with Me, acquire new luster when considered as pieces of a larger whole, and sensations like Blue Velvet and the TV series Twin Peaks emerge not as anomalies but instances in which the cultural moment aligned with what Lynch had been up to all along. The book serves as an excellent primer for those unfamiliar with and curious about Lynch, as well as a pithy and insightful resource for confirmed fans wishing to deepen their appreciation and understanding of his work.

A streamlined and breezily engaging—but impressively rigorous—evaluation of a unique film talent; essential reading for fans of Lynch and the immersive, elusive worlds he creates.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-34375-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Amazon/New Harvest

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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