A bracing tale of the fierce struggle waged by those devoted to the sea as a way of life.

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BAY OF SPIRITS

A LOVE STORY

Hardy, sea-sprayed travelogue of the author’s colorful journeys along the rugged Newfoundland coast in the 1950s and ’60s.

Mowat (No Man’s River, 2004, etc.) once again vividly displays his unique talent for recreating remote Northern landscapes and their inhabitants. Arriving in glacially scarred Newfoundland, aptly called “the Rock,” in 1957, he found a spirited, sea-loving people clinging tenuously to their Old World traditions. He bought a 30-foot schooner and embarked on a years-long exploration. In 1960, aboard that very vessel, he met and fell in love with a young commercial artist, Claire Wheeler. Mowat left his wife and two young children for Claire, a decision he makes no effort to justify, or even explain. He never looked back, and soon he and his new love were exploring Newfoundland’s most isolated coastal villages. Along the way, they encountered feisty ferry captains whose seamanship astounded even the most weathered harbor pilot; descendants of now-extinct Indian tribes, watching as modern fishing fleets inexorably depleted their once-rich fishing beds; and 80-year-old Marie Penney, the hospitable “Queen of the Coast,” whose fish-processing plants dominated Newfoundland industry. Far less welcoming were the hostile and suspicious residents of Grey River, an eerie hamlet mysteriously devoid of dogs. Mowat and Claire eventually bought a seaside cottage in the remote village of Burgeo, bringing the first motorcar to that part of the world. Their summer idylls on land and sea were sublime, but they also witnessed repulsive examples of human cruelty to fellow creatures that ultimately forced them to rethink their choices. As always, Mowat’s powers of recollection and description are prodigious, whether conjuring up a becalmed cliff-lined inlet or a churning, windswept coastal storm. It must be noted, however, that his canvas here is often bleak, and after a while, the impoverished hamlets reeking of fish all seem the same.

A bracing tale of the fierce struggle waged by those devoted to the sea as a way of life.

Pub Date: May 4, 2007

ISBN: 0-7867-1994-X

Page Count: 384

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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