A raw literary meditation on loss.

THE COMMUNICATING VESSELS

Pain and loneliness imbue a poet's intimate revelations.

In two companion pieces, The Communicating Vessels and And I Shook Myself a Beloved, award-winning Viennese poet Mayröcker (b. 1924) offers a swirling collage of thoughts, allusions, and reminiscences elicited by the death of her longtime companion, experimental poet and translator Ernst Jandl (1925-2000). Both works are marked by streams and juxtapositions of language evocative of Gertrude Stein, whom, along with Jacques Derrida, Mayröcker cites as a decisive influence. “My reading of Gertrude Stein,” she writes, “had opened up all the floodgates and I was really happy because my writing was spouting, almost without any resistance, and from my memory previously unknown images appeared, and they begot others.” Like Stein—and many artists that Mayröcker mentions, including Picasso, Juan Gris, and Salvador Dalí—the author aimed at producing art that “does not depict reality, but the perception of reality.” Her reality is dominated by memories of her life with Jandl: “1 mirror of the other, 1 mind-comfort.” While thinking about Stein’s sentence, “I am I because my little dog knows me,” she laments that when Jandl died, “I lost the greater part of my identity.” Mayröcker and Jandl shared books, music (jazz, the recordings of Maria Callas), and art. Grieving, she found comfort in the works of Spanish surrealist Antoni Tàpies. “Throughout all the wild months,” she writes, “he’d become my favorite painter, he accompanied me day and night, I dreamed of him and his works.” Although Mayröcker’s effusive interior monologue is sometimes impenetrable, her overwhelming grief emerges clearly. “I went to the cemetery,” she writes, “and brought him five yellow roses and I thought he would speak to me, which he did not do, and I touched his gravestone and lit a candle and closed the lantern and left the cemetery saying to myself, everywhere different.”

A raw literary meditation on loss.

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-9982675-8-6

Page Count: 224

Publisher: A Public Space Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

PERSIST

The Massachusetts senator and financial reformer recounts several of her good fights over the years.

Famous for being chided for “persisting” on the Senate floor, Warren is nearly a byword for the application of an unbending, if usually polite, feminism to the corridors of power. Though she has a schoolmarm-ish air—and indeed taught school for much of her life—she gladly owns up to liking a beer or two and enjoying a good brawl, and she’s a scrapper with a long memory. In 2008, when she shopped a proposal to found a federal agency that “could act as a watchdog to make sure that consumers weren’t getting cheated by financial institutions,” she encountered a congressman who “laughed in my face.” She doesn’t reveal his name, but you can bet he crosses the hall when she’s coming the other way. Warren does name other names, especially Donald Trump, who, with Republicans on the Hill, accomplished only one thing, namely “a $2 trillion tax cut that mostly benefited rich people.” Now that the Democrats are in power, the author reckons that the time is ripe to shake off the Trump debacle and build “a nation that works, not just for the rich and powerful but for everyone.” She identifies numerous areas that need immediate attention, from financial reform to bringing more women into the workplace and mandating equal pay for equal work. Warren premises some of these changes on increased taxes on the rich, happily citing a billionaire well known for insider trading, who complained of her, “This is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” The author reverts to form: “Oh dear. Did I hit a nerve?” Warren’s common-sensical proposals on housing, infrastructure development, and civil rights merit attention, and her book makes for a sometimes-funny, sometimes–sharp-tongued pleasure.

A lively and thoughtful memoir that, one hopes, will inspire readers to pursue activism in every realm of society.

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79924-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Metropolitan/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: tomorrow

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more