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A worthy collection that would have benefitted from further effort from the book’s editor and publisher.

A short anthology of features from acclaimed newspaperman and magazine writer Talese (The Voyeur’s Motel, 2016, etc.).

The collection features 13 pieces, many of which appeared in Esquire, where the author gained renown beginning in the early 1960s after his stint at the New York Times; others ran in the New Yorker, New York magazine, and the New York Observer. Despite having been published decades ago in some instances, the content of the magazine pieces does not seem dated; one of Talese's strengths has always been his ability to explore eternal themes. The anthology can also be appreciated as a demonstration of craft. Talese's techniques are worthy of study, especially his unique talent for fully immersing himself in the lives of his subjects. Unfortunately, the book offers little in the way of added value other than an insightful four-page introduction by writer/scholar Lee Gutkind, who is often known as the father of creative nonfiction. The anthology lacks fresh commentary by Talese himself, and none of the 13 pieces contain further analysis by Gutkind or others. Another disappointment is the lack of updates to the feature stories. Happily, the collection includes what is almost certainly Talese's best-known magazine piece, "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold," as well as previously published commentary by Talese about how the Sinatra story, which was published in Esquire in 1966, came together. In two pieces, Talese examines the inner workings of his former employer, the New York Times. Other subjects include an organized crime family (the Bonannos), a mass murderer (Charles Manson), a pornography publisher (Harold Rubin), an apparently homeless woman, a Russian opera singer (Marina Poplavskaya), and the unlikely collaboration of two pop-music stars (Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga).

A worthy collection that would have benefitted from further effort from the book’s editor and publisher.

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63286-746-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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