IBERIA

SPANISH TRAVELS AND REFLECTIONS

Michener contributes a gigantic guidebook and, via some 500 pages in relatively small print, has seen and reviewed Spain. The book is a staggering paiella of information culled from history, conversations, literature and Michener's stays there for over thirty years. There is no plan, no itinerary per se, just wanderings, retracings and musings. He moves through a cathedral, defines a few Spanish words, discusses Toledo ware. He recommends books and instructs the reader on how to make a gaspacho. He talks about the Inquisition, the Don Juan literature, the Civil War (he is glad now that he didn't join up since he realizes that the Communists took over the Republican side very early), the effect Swedish girls have had on sexual mores, Carlos V, flan, bullfighting (the one long and comprehensive section—Michener has observed about 251 bullfights), the change of seasons in a great swamp, Compostela. And many cities, many towns. There is even a long conversation with friends of Hemingway about Papa. There are times, though, when Michener's reportage is just too intrusive and cloying. And once again he is bland, and his opinions are ordinary. But he does give good information about Spain and hopefully there will be an index and perhaps the book could be shrunk to the size of a tourist's pocket. In any case, it will travel—and the Book-of-the-Month Club selection is just another assurance of its predictable popularity.

Pub Date: April 12, 1968

ISBN: 0394429826

Page Count: 960

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1968

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NUTCRACKER

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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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

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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