The text is elegantly translated by McLean, and García Márquez fans will welcome these fresh and lively examples of his...

THE SCANDAL OF THE CENTURY

AND OTHER WRITINGS

An eye-opening collection of articles that reveal Gabo the journalist.

New Yorker staff writer Jon Lee Anderson sets up this eclectic and transportive selection of 50 journalistic pieces from 1950 to 1984 by the Colombian Nobel laureate, noting in his introduction that journalism was García Márquez’s “first true love.” In fact, the beloved novelist (1927-2014) called it the “best profession in the world.” Editor Pera confesses that he purposefully chose pieces that “contain a latent narrative tension between journalism and literature” to showcase the author’s “unstoppable narrative impulse.” The titular article, the longest in the collection, written for El Spectador, which published García Márquez’s first short stories, is an account of the mysterious death of a young Italian woman in Rome in 1953. The atmospheric, serialized piece is told in chapter form and might owe something to García Márquez’s love of two “perfect” short stories he references in “Like Souls in Purgatory”: W.W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey’s Paw” and Poe’s “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar.” Many of the articles confront political and social issues, including the U.S. blockade of Cuba, the Sandinista raid in Managua, Nicaragua, the international trafficking of women, the death of his beloved Magdalena River from pollution and deforestation, and the Soviet intervention in Hungary. In “Misadventures of a Writer of Books,” García Márquez admits that a writer “has no other revolutionary obligation than to write well.” He rages about bad teachers of literature who “spout nonsense,” calls the Nobel Prize a “senile laurel,” is convinced “Japanese novels have something in common with mine,” praises “self-sacrificing” translators as “brilliant accomplice[s],” and mourns the death of John Lennon. In the lovely “My Personal Hemingway,” García Márquez recalls seeing him across a Paris street in 1957 and shouting out, “Maaeeestro!”

The text is elegantly translated by McLean, and García Márquez fans will welcome these fresh and lively examples of his beautiful, lyrical writing.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-65642-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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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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