A twice-told tale that doesn't claim anything of its own in the retelling.



Another Englishman goes to another near-Mediterranean village and becomes besotted by the place in a way that may seem rather familiar already.

Like Peter Mayle, Lambert (Triad, 1991; Vendetta, 1990) had grown tired of his job as a globetrotting journalist and pined for a rustic setting where he could sit down and write that novel that was just itching to escape from his fingertips into the typewriter. So, like Mayle, Lambert and his wife bought a tumbledown home with a pool outside an insular but food-and-gossip-rich little village by the coast—only here the coast is Spain's Costa Blanca. The construction work that the house requires comes slowly and is endlessly delayed, but jasmine and rosemary fill the air outside their windows—so who can complain? The Lamberts have amusing miscommunications with quirky locals and comic brushes with the authorities, but each ends with a splash of sunshine and a fruity bonbon. They suffer the importunings of English `friends` who just happen to be in the neighborhood. They are taken under the wing of neighboring, self-appointed guardians who get them into harmless fixes. They experience benign (if startling) surprises—bats come to sip from the pool at night, a snowstorm results in some melodramatics, fires threaten but claim no victims during the dry season—but then there are the Bermuda buttercups that carpet the earth under the fruit trees. Lambert’s story even ends with a celebration at Christmastime, with work on the house almost completed, all wrapped up in an atmosphere of well-being. If this all sounds too familiar, it is. Both Lambert and Mayle write with a breezy informality, but whereas Mayle (the relaxed self-deprecating sensualist) seemed to have mild adventures fall in his lap, Lambert hasn't shaken his background in journalism: he's out there digging for stories in serendipity. Too often it feels like hard work.

A twice-told tale that doesn't claim anything of its own in the retelling.

Pub Date: May 2, 2000

ISBN: 0-7679-0415-X

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2000

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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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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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