An elegant, erudite, and at times baffling reconsideration of Faulkner by a giant of Caribbean literature. A Martinican who first encountered Faulkner in French translation, Glissant launches his reappraisal after touring the novelist’s house, Rowan Oak. His reaction to the poet laureate of the past-haunted South is filtered through his puzzled attempts to apprehend how the contemporary South is emblematic of the American whole—banal roadsides cluttered with fast-food restaurants, the cultural nonchalance toward violence—making this part travelogue, part cultural and literary criticism. Glissant’s general affability is demonstrated by his address of race in Faulkner: “How can you reduce Faulkner’s pantheistic Comedy to what he did or did not say about the race question in the United States? But how can you fail to take this question into consideration?” He argues for the importance of the exercise, contending that “Faulkner’s oeuvre will be complete when it is revisited and made ‘effective’ by African-Americans,” and he credits Toni Morrison with beginning the project. Glissant brings a unique perspective to Faulkner’s work: as a Martinican, he comes from a colonial culture built on a slave-based plantation economy like the South’s (and thus views slavery with a broader perspective than most Americans); as an outsider, he’s both an objective analyst and something of an awestruck tourist. Glissant is good at sketching the big picture of Faulkner’s lifework (how the novels fit together, what role the stories play) and small details (he charts the three modes of Faulkner’s writing, “the hidden, the described, and the inexpressible” and sheds light on how the author’s trademark style contributes to his themes). It’s the middle ground—the discussion of individual novels—that’s sometimes hard to follow. The difficulty of analyzing Faulkner’s entire body of work in a short book may be due more to the novels’ complexity (they don’t lend themselves to brief synopses) than to any shortcomings of Glissant’s. A sharp, challenging, and wholly unique tour of Yoknapatawpha County.

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-374-15392-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1999

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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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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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