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Saint Genet's posthumous last book, a semi-surreal record of years spent with the Black Panthers in the US and with Palestinian soldiers in Jordan and Lebanon. With his celebrated literary career long abandoned, Genet (1910-86), a homosexual ex-convict and castoff son of a whore, sought a strange kind of sainthood he could never achieve, one that embraced thieves and traitors. He began involving himself with marginal political groups in the late 1960's; these groups, he felt, kept him wrapped in the outcast state that he felt most warmed by. But however great his sympathies, he never surrendered his intellectual freedom and saw gaps in the groups' vague political programs. He loved, rather, individual fighters and here lists their virtues as proof of his love. As Edmund White says in his brilliant introduction, ``Love reconciles Genet's feelings that everyone is of equal value and that each person is priceless....Emotions live on and only the people who entertain them die. `The happiness of my hand in the hair of a boy another hand will know, already knows, and if I die this happiness will go on.' '' For fun, Genet accepted an invitation to spend a few days with the Palestinians—and stayed nearly two years. He tells no story here, leaps from one land to another while telescoping space and time, giving us perhaps the most intimate picture of terrorism ever written. Among the Panthers, terror is spectacle and theater, and what change the group brings about in fighting Nixon and white imperialism is through poetry. ``At the beginning of 1970 the Party still had both the suppleness and rigidity of a male sex organ: and it preferred erections to elections.'' The crazy logic of the Palestinian phenomenon offers a broader, bloodier canvas as Genet writes under medical notice of his imminent death and seeks life in his nightmares and memories. Unfinished, provisional, inspired—and it may be updated when the original manuscript is found. Ringing with eloquence and intelligence.

Pub Date: April 24, 1992

ISBN: 0-8195-5246-1

Page Count: 398

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1992

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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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