A distinctly original perspective on an iconic writer.

BURNING MAN

THE TRIALS OF D.H. LAWRENCE

A fresh study of D.H. Lawrence’s enigmatic life and writing.

In her latest, noted literary critic and biographer Wilson delivers an absorbing, eccentric work of imaginative biography, a text that is by turns deeply revelatory, opinionated, and occasionally rambling. The author focuses on the middle years of Lawrence’s writing career, from 1915 to 1925, and she allegorically frames the three sections of his journey around Dante’s Divine Comedy. “Inferno” covers Lawrence’s years in England while writing The Rainbow and Women in Love and his early years of marriage to Frieda. In “Purgatory,” Wilson chronicles his years in Italy, which featured a murky series of financial and possibly intimate intrigues with American traveler and writer Maurice Magnus. “Paradise” takes us to Australia, which inspired his novel Kangaroo, onward to the American Southwest and Mexico, and up to his tuberculosis diagnosis. Interweaving entertaining accounts of his travels and his relationships along the way with examples of his writing, Wilson skillfully evokes Lawrence’s restless spirit while partially penetrating his contradictory manners and impulses. “His fidelity as a writer was not to the truth but to his own contradictions,” she writes, “and reading him today is like tuning into a radio station whose frequency keeps changing….Of all the Lawrentian paradoxes, however, the most arresting is that he was an intellectual who devalued the intellect, placing his faith in the wisdom of the very body that throughout his life was failing him.” Wilson casts a vivid light on his many notable associations—among them, Katherine Mansfield, Norman Douglas, Mabel Dodge Luhan, and Ottoline Morrell—many of whom published books on their experiences with Lawrence. With more than a hint of misogyny found in some of his fiction, Lawrence is not a particularly relevant author for our times, and Wilson’s effort may not elicit renewed interest despite the author’s colorful depictions of his travels and provocative analysis of his work and personal shortcomings.

A distinctly original perspective on an iconic writer.

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-374-28225-7

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

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I'M GLAD MY MOM DIED

The former iCarly star reflects on her difficult childhood.

In her debut memoir, titled after her 2020 one-woman show, singer and actor McCurdy (b. 1992) reveals the raw details of what she describes as years of emotional abuse at the hands of her demanding, emotionally unstable stage mom, Debra. Born in Los Angeles, the author, along with three older brothers, grew up in a home controlled by her mother. When McCurdy was 3, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though she initially survived, the disease’s recurrence would ultimately take her life when the author was 21. McCurdy candidly reconstructs those in-between years, showing how “my mom emotionally, mentally, and physically abused me in ways that will forever impact me.” Insistent on molding her only daughter into “Mommy’s little actress,” Debra shuffled her to auditions beginning at age 6. As she matured and starting booking acting gigs, McCurdy remained “desperate to impress Mom,” while Debra became increasingly obsessive about her daughter’s physical appearance. She tinted her daughter’s eyelashes, whitened her teeth, enforced a tightly monitored regimen of “calorie restriction,” and performed regular genital exams on her as a teenager. Eventually, the author grew understandably resentful and tried to distance herself from her mother. As a young celebrity, however, McCurdy became vulnerable to eating disorders, alcohol addiction, self-loathing, and unstable relationships. Throughout the book, she honestly portrays Debra’s cruel perfectionist personality and abusive behavior patterns, showing a woman who could get enraged by everything from crooked eyeliner to spilled milk. At the same time, McCurdy exhibits compassion for her deeply flawed mother. Late in the book, she shares a crushing secret her father revealed to her as an adult. While McCurdy didn’t emerge from her childhood unscathed, she’s managed to spin her harrowing experience into a sold-out stage act and achieve a form of catharsis that puts her mind, body, and acting career at peace.

The heartbreaking story of an emotionally battered child delivered with captivating candor and grace.

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-982185-82-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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