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LETTERS TO KURT

A catharsis for the writer and perhaps for the reader as well.

Nearly two decades after the death of Kurt Cobain, a friend and fellow musician not only continues to mourn his suicide, but also rages against the culture that he holds responsible.

These 52 “letters”— bursts of anger and sardonic humor, without paragraphing, but tempered by literary aspiration (and a little too much wordplay)—combine the subject matter of the Byrds’ “So You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star” with the fury of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. As Erlandson explains in the introduction, he was the boyfriend and band mate of Courtney Love when they first met Cobain, who would become her husband and a friend of the author, one of the many profoundly affected by the Nirvana front man’s suicide. (Erlandson subsequently had an extended relationship with Drew Barrymore, though it’s hard to find her presence in these pages.) The author writes, “I began writing prose poem letters to Kurt as a way of exploring all I’d been through…My inner demons, personal means of self-sabotage, musings on death, suicide, masculine/feminine roles, food, sex, addiction,” etc. The results read like a journal for a creative-writing course, but the pain is real and powerful. The pieces often cast Cobain as a victim and Love as an occasional villain (the author’s involvement in their band Hole ended in acrimony and legal action), but its major indictment is of a celebrity culture in which “all beauty has poison under its skin, fangs beneath its gums, a bullet with your name on it, in the name of fortune and fame. If the art doesn’t kill you, the fame surely will.”

A catharsis for the writer and perhaps for the reader as well.

Pub Date: April 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61775-083-0

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Akashic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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