A vibrant and expansive anthology.



Two distinguished writers/editors gather together flash nonfiction essays from both established and emerging writers.

In this volume, Kitchen (The Circus Train, 2014, etc.), who died in 2014, and Lenney (The Object Parade, 2014, etc.) continue the work they began 20 years ago when they first began editing anthologies of the newest and best in contemporary nonfiction. The works selected for inclusion are as delightfully varied in terms of tone, style, and subject matter as they are individually unique from each other. This diversity is signaled by the opening piece, James Richardson’s “Aphorisms & Ten-Second Essays,” an experimental reflection on the nature of storytelling that interweaves random truths about daily life. While the editors do not explicitly organize the pieces according to theme, they situate them in such a way so that, and as Lenney observes, “where one writer ends, another begins.” In “What I Hear,” for example, Martha Cooley reflects on her tinnitus and how the “instruments” she hears inside her head are ultimately playing me to myself.” In the essay that directly follows it, Geeta Kothari picks up the theme of listening. In her story, the perspective shifts to a woman who has spent her whole life doing as others have told her, even when what she has heard is superstition. Part of the vigor and liveliness that characterize this volume also derive from the fact that Kitchen and Lenney include the work of new writers like Josette Kubaszyk. In her lyrical essay “Swing,” she explores a young girl’s thoughts as she examines a swing and reflects on both its previous owner and her own experiences “swooping forward, falling back, humming the rhythm of the wind.” Refreshing and often unexpected, the stories in this collection—which run the gamut from memoir to critique to meditation and more—offer insights into experiences that, as they challenge readers’ perceptions of the world, also celebrate the pain, joy, and wonder of being human.

A vibrant and expansive anthology.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-393-35099-9

Page Count: 356

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: July 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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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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