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Weird Trieste! Triste Trieste! Cary (English/University of Connecticut) recalls his brief stay in Trieste—a city he visited in search of its literary glory. What a surprise when Cary finds that Trieste—literary Trieste—doesn't exist; nor, really, does cultural Trieste. Its writers, in fact, bemoan the city's utter lack of cultural flowering, knocking it for blocking ``any initiative designed to give it a cultural character of physiognomy, not only in its disintegrative atmosphere but in its individuals, who willingly isolate themselves or go elsewhere. It has a bitter air....'' So said Trieste's storyteller Giani Stuparich in 1948, who added that his life there ``is a torment and continuous vigil.'' Cary finds himself alone as a ghost in Trieste as he spends three weeks searching for the shades of Italo Svevo, Umberto Saba, and James Joyce (who, during his ten years in the city, wrote Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Giacomo Joyce, some of Pomes Penyeach, and began Ulysses). Cary—finding almost nothing but a spot or two where these famed folk sat and gazed at the Adriatic—supplies instead an amused (but less than amusing) history of the seaport, which has existed for over two millennia. The historical passages serve as factual steppingstones during the author's more baffled wanderings about the city and its hills, and during his lying awake at night listening to American sailors on shore leave laughing below his window louvers. To be sure, Cary does find a literary Trieste, but it's all in books about Trieste, whose authors he catalogues while detailing their ecstasies and laments. He also includes a sheaf of his translations of several poems written in or about the city. Delectations for the ghostly only. (Eight halftones, 17 line drawings, four maps)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-226-09528-2

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Univ. of Chicago

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1993

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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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