ADAM AND EVE AND THE CITY: Selected Nonfiction by Francine du Plessix Gray

ADAM AND EVE AND THE CITY: Selected Nonfiction

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With its consistent voice, graceful style, and quiet humor, Gray's selected nonfiction reads better than many collections of unrelated writings. Here, she reports on war-resister trials with sympathy and detachment; includes early recognitions of the Rev. Moon's sinister recruitment strategies and the inanities of a posturing Maharaj Ji; and shares the personal complexities and spiritual histories of two favorite writers, Thomas Merton and Harvey Cox. Farther from home, she characterizes disheartening varieties of colonial behavior on safari, introduces several maverick French relatives, and finds fresh fire to convey the ""frontier manner"" and ""garrison mood"" of Jerusalem. There are short but strongly perceptive essays on women's lives--the importance of friendship and observing basic rites--and a penetrating look at Hawaii and its nationalist movement, iffy in 1971, well established 15 years later. Gray doesn't miss the small details (a Kikuyu menu from soup to soufflÉ) or situational ironies (tourist minibuses scare cheetahs away from their kill), but she concentrates on the larger issues: ""Can we continue to trek to game reserves in the company of mastodon colonials who. . .are crassly hostile to the aspirations and achievements of Africans?"" Her original insights hold up well (the Peace Movement was undermined by ""arrogance and Millennialism""), and some subjects--how the Klaus Barbie trial will force France to acknowledge its collaborationist involvement--mirror this morning's headlines. Thoughtful and polished observations from an accomplished reporter.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 1987
Publisher: Simon & Schuster