Informative, deeply felt, and often moving, but unlikely to appeal to the general reader.

THE BUTTERFLY’S WAY

VOICES FROM THE HAITIAN DYASPORA IN THE UNITED STATES

Thirty-three Haitians and Haitian-Americans reflect on their experiences away from the island.

Haitian writer Danticat (The Farming of Bones, 1998, etc.) edited this collection of short works by Haitian emigrants. The pieces are nominally divided into five groups (Childhood, Migration, Half/First Generation, Return, and Future), but many could easily fall into three or more categories. Most are autobiographical sketches, but a few poems are also included. As a whole, they provide a fairly informative primer on the identity issues faced by those of Haitian stock who live in the US, but while their stated purpose is to look at the Haitian diaspora in America, they return again and again to Haiti itself and to the idea of Haitian-ness. When they do, one is aware that only one side of a complicated story is being told, for no voices from Haiti or France are represented and there is little divergence among the various authors on political issues. “Papa Doc” Duvalier (the dictator who sent many of the authors and their families into exile) is universally reviled, while Jean-Bertrand Aristide (the popularly elected president who was eventually toppled in a coup) is generally adored. There is also an undeniable class slant: The vast majority of the pieces are written with a distinct upper-middle-class sensibility, and the biographies of the contributors reveal that almost all are journalists, professors, writers, or graduate students. Perhaps accordingly, several selections read like papers written for a course on identity and society at a liberal-arts college—jargon and all. Others, however (such as Jean-Robert Cadet’s account of his life as a restavek, or slave child, and Marie-Hélène Laforest’s record of her family’s intransigence in exile), rise above didacticism and vividly convey the complications imposed by life in the diaspora.

Informative, deeply felt, and often moving, but unlikely to appeal to the general reader.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56947-218-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Soho

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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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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