A simultaneously tragic and uplifting story of enduring love.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE BRIDGE

A MEMOIR

The acclaimed novelist and playwright traces one of his significant relationships, from its inauspicious origins on the Brooklyn Bridge in 1959 to its heart-wrenching conclusion during the height of the 1980s AIDS epidemic.

Caldwell (The Pig Goes to Dog Heaven, 2010, etc.), the winner of the Rome Prize for Literature, packs a lot into this brief yet rich, meditative memoir about a talented Midwestern transplant trying to make his mark on New York City. Aspiring playwright, defiant Catholic, struggling novelist, courageous civic activist, conflicted soap-opera scribe: Caldwell approaches the many roles in his life with an offhanded aplomb that belies his depth as an artist. In reconciling his homosexuality with his steadfast Catholicism, the author writes, “whenever I’m asked about my sexuality, I say, ‘I am, by God’s good grace, as gay as a goose.’ Glib, I know, but true.” Later, he wonders if “the greatest satanic success since the eating of the Edenic apple was the conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity.” The author’s sexuality, no wonder, plays a central role in this story, and much of it predates the Stonewall uprising, in an era when being gay could get you fired from a job on a trailblazing soap opera like Dark Shadows. As Caldwell explains, not only did he have to keep mum about his homosexuality while writing for the enduring cult TV favorite, he also had to mute any intrinsically gay themes. Ultimately, though, this memoir is about the author’s 30-year, on-again, off-again (mostly off) relationship with the young photographer named Gale that he met at dawn on the Brooklyn Bridge. Throughout his triumphs and travails, Caldwell never abandoned hope that the two would one day be reunited, and when the reunion ultimately occurs, it hits as hard as any love story could.

A simultaneously tragic and uplifting story of enduring love.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-883285-83-8

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Delphinium

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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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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