A gifted writer submerges his grief in his deep affection for his adopted city.



The death of the author’s wife hovers over this densely meandering, poignant look at the simmering violence in his beloved Mexico City.

American novelist and journalist Goldman (Say Her Name, 2011, etc.) writes affectingly about his adopted city, where he had lived on and off since the 1990s. His short second marriage to essayist, graduate student and Mexico City native Aura Estrada ended with her tragic death from a bodysurfing accident while on vacation in 2007, a devastating loss Goldman wrote about eloquently in Say Her Name. Here, the author continues to move through stages of grief—e.g., by relearning how to drive, which he had been unable to do since Aura’s death, as well as by relating with fellow residents' attempts to come to terms with the senseless drug cartel violence that has permeated all levels of Mexican society, especially in politics. Driving around the Distrito Federal, or DF, as the city is known, with its chaotic streets and aggressive drivers, presenting Mexico City zone by zone, Goldman attempted to engage with the city, seek out its secrets and deepen his relationship to it by creating his own “interior circuit.” While he extols the vibrancy, endurance, youthful romance and tolerance of the city, he also confronts head-on its brutality and death wish. The legacy of President Felipe Calderón’s war on the drug cartels, waged from 2006 to 2012, resulted in an explosion of violence against and by the narcos, spilling over into the DF—which had been relatively spared the carnage—in the form of the kidnapping of 11 young people from an after-hours club in May 2013. Goldman followed the case closely, which seemed to implicate both the new DF mayor and president.

A gifted writer submerges his grief in his deep affection for his adopted city.

Pub Date: July 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8021-2256-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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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