JOURNAL OF A NOVEL

THE EAST OF EDEN LETTERS

What amounts to a working journal affixed to the pages of the first draft of East of Eden (1952) in the form of letters addressed to Steinbeck's editor, the late Pascal Covici. These remarks were originally set down on the left hand pages of a huge notebook, with the day's writing pushed forward on the right. The "letters" cover working days from January 29, 1951 to November 1, 1952, and are just about as useful (to anyone but the author), as writer's warming up exercises are apt to be. Steinbeck worries the bones of structure, the aspects of his characters, but the value of such preor post-creation musings is always in doubt. Often the message hasn't arrived or has already gone out. There is some personal detail—about the childhood troubles of his young sons; frequently expressed affection for his second wife, Elaine; and the quality and durability of pencils. And of course there are expressions of moods blue, bright and downright frantic, induced by, as every writer recognizes, gawdknowswhat. Remarks on contemporary public events or self scrutiny, are few, far between and fragmentary. Although Steinbeck appeared to be at this time a severely disciplined craftsman, he admitted that his method differed from that of The Grapes of Wrath when he wrote "headlong." And considering the impact of the late novelist's Joads compared with the forgettable Trasks and Hamiltons, therein might lie a shade of moral.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 1969

ISBN: 0140144188

Page Count: 196

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1969

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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