A cranky test, celebratory of the writer's art, to which some attention may be paid.

WHISTLING IN THE DARK

TRUE STORIES AND OTHER FABLES

The author of more than two dozen works of fiction (Entered From the Sun, 1990, etc.), biography (James Jones, 1984), criticism, poetry, and drama now turns his considerable powers to studied introspection.

Garrett (English/Univ. of Virginia) nearly, but not quite, comes up with an autobiography—an art form he describes as, at its best, "a cry for mercy concealed as a nonnegotiable demand for justice.'' That rings particularly true when the story has, as his does, a southern exposure, with its very diction and sensibility embedded in the War (the one between the states, of course). To be sure, there are narratives of other wars—in Europe, for example, or in the boxing ring. On occasion, the text, like a Broadway musical, bursts out of its mannered prose into creditable poetry and then lapses back into Garrett's wandering style— "digression,'' he confesses, "being the essence of my style.'' Another badge of his method is his penchant for eschewing the ancient and elementary rule of usage that requires a noun and a verb to appear together in the same sentence. Garrett does have his prejudices when it comes to his craft. There are kind words for fellow denizens of Dixie (Shelby Foote and James Dickey) and bit of buckshot for the likes of John Irving, John Updike, and Robert Coover. One story seems to be in homage to Hemingway. As for himself, Garrett, ever on the high road, discovers "a strong and deep feeling that virtuous acts that lead to any kind of profit or reward or...any forms of conventional honor and respect are not so much beneath contempt as unworthy of serious attention.''

A cranky test, celebratory of the writer's art, to which some attention may be paid.

Pub Date: June 22, 1992

ISBN: 0-15-191313-7

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1992

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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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