Not a good entrance point for readers unfamiliar with the author’s work, but devotees will surely pore over the bits and...

FRANTUMAGLIA

A WRITER'S JOURNEY

An assemblage of correspondence and interviews provides Ferrante-curious readers with a look into the mind and methods of the reclusive author.

First published in Italy in 2003, subsequent to the publication of the author’s first two stand-alone novels, this new and expanded, English-language edition of Frantumaglia (“fragments”) follows the juggernaut that is the Neapolitan Quartet (2012-2015). Interviews, letters, and other fragments from the years spanning 1991 to 2016 touch on a variety of topics, including Ferrante’s widely reported beliefs about books having “no need of their authors” once published and discussions of authors whose works have inspired or informed her own—e.g., Elsa Morante, Alba de Cespedes, Madame de La Fayette. The ambiguous dance Ferrante engages in with readers and interpreters is revealed in the assertion that she would only marginally involve herself with the screenplay for the film adaptation of her early novel Troubling Love, which ultimately translates into the provision of several pages of detailed commentary on the treatment. The author’s ambivalence about the release of the assembled “fragments” of interviews and writings themselves drove her to agree to their publication only if they were presented as an “appendix” or companion text to her novels. Her primary argument that an author’s only duty to readers is the writing of a book—and not selling it or promoting the author—permeates hundreds of pages of excerpted interviews; only rarely does anything of biographical significance sneak through. One distinctive interview, from the art magazine Frieze, does provide tantalizing details about Ferrante’s preferences in art and music, but mostly she confines herself to reiterations of her isolationist manifesto, explorations of her influences, and articulations of the struggles of female authors.

Not a good entrance point for readers unfamiliar with the author’s work, but devotees will surely pore over the bits and pieces in an effort to arrive one step closer at understanding the phenomenon that is Ferrante fever.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60945-292-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Europa Editions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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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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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

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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