An expressive and poetic tribute to a wife and a marriage that died without warning.

THE WIDOWER'S NOTEBOOK

A MEMOIR

When his wife dies, a man learns to live with the vacuum of space she’s left behind.

The death of Santlofer’s wife happened unexpectedly; one day she was healthy and in need of a knee operation, the next day, she was gone, leaving a hole in Santlofer’s life and numerous questions as to what really caused her death. In the brief first part, the author immediately plunges the reader into the moments before Joy’s death, expertly capturing the panic and dismay he felt as he watched the paramedics work on her and the horribly long hours at the hospital as he waited for answers. In Part 2, “After,” Santlofer explores the relationship he had with Joy, offering tender slices and snippets of their 40-plus years together, moments of togetherness that he remembers with fondness and times when they argued that he wishes he could revisit and redo. His words carry with them the solemnity of death, love, and longing and a tinge of anger as he wrestles with the facts and struggles to determine what went wrong on that fateful day. Santlofer offers a man’s perspective on emotional topics, of feeling inadequate on multiple levels, of wanting to have been a better husband and his desire to be a better father to their only daughter. He shares his coping methods through the months of mourning, the ways he filled the emptiness brought on by Joy’s absence. In “Widower,” Part 3, Santlofer considers what it means to be a single man again, the social expectations placed on him by well-meaning friends, and his push to see his wife’s unfinished writing reach publication. Also included are beautiful line drawings the author did that helped fill the hours as he slowly moved from one day to one month to one year and more past the death of Joy.

An expressive and poetic tribute to a wife and a marriage that died without warning.

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-14-313249-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Penguin

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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