Delightful in small doses, but too intense to be consumed in a single sitting.

THE RAW AND THE COOKED

ADVENTURES OF A ROAMING GOURMAND

Novelist Harrison (The Beast God Forgot to Invent, 2000, etc.), a man of firm opinions and titanic appetites, here collects his previously published essays on food.

Holding the view that “many of our failures in politics, art and domestic life come from our failure to eat vividly,” Harrison is in search of the transcendent, whether in nature (trekking is the only pastime he seems to feel as passionate about as food) or on the plate. He finds it in intense flavors, the American landscape, his past, and his family: the subjects of most of his essays. In general, he concerns himself with documenting some of the colossal meals he’s hunted, created, and consumed, but he concludes with an extended essay about French eats and a collection of correspondence with Gallic food expert Gerard Oberle. Those two pieces place Harrison in the continuum of great food-lovers, reminding us that he is not just a lonely champion of appetite in an American wilderness of moderation. The author’s relationship with food is nothing if not extreme, having run the gamut from youthful anorexia to his current battles with gout, that plague of unbridled gourmands. Somewhat surprisingly, this master of clever iconoclasm turns out to be a namedropper, although it is almost always in an effort to give credit where credit is due. He lavishes praise on favored cookbook authors, chefs, and restaurants, and perhaps he simply wants to give buddy Jack Nicholson proper acknowledgment for the witticism “only in the Midwest is overeating still considered an act of heroism.” The author claims to be victim of “one of a writer's neuroses—not to want to repeat himself”; this collection, however, insistently reveals his pet phrases and anecdotes.

Delightful in small doses, but too intense to be consumed in a single sitting.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8021-1698-1

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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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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