Robinson vividly describes contrasts between cultures as she realistically details a quest inevitably complicated by the...

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A SINGLE SQUARE PICTURE

A KOREAN ADOPTEE’S SEARCH FOR HER ROOTS

Luminously written, sensitively nuanced memoir by Idaho-based journalist Robinson about the rediscovery of her Korean family.

Adopted as a seven-year old by Americans, the author loved her new mother, but growing up in Utah, the only Asian in her school, she felt cut off from her roots. Mixing memories of her American childhood with accounts of her present activities, Robinson describes how, on a business trip to Seoul 20 years after she left, she decided to look for her birth family. She had a photograph of her mother and grandmother taken at the airport before she left, a few memories, and little else to guide her. At the orphanage that arranged her adoption, she learned that her father was still alive, though now in his 70s. They met briefly; he shared photos and memories and told her she was his favorite child. Pleased by his response, Robinson arranged to spend a year at Korea University with her husband. Her father was very protective of the couple, but his daughter’s feelings fluctuated as she learned more about him. He was a notorious womanizer; Kim Ji-yun (Robinson’s Korean name) was the result of an affair with her mother while he was married with young children; and he had more children with the woman he married after that affair. Robinson met an elder half-brother and -sister, offspring of his first marriage, and his first wife made the American feel at home though she disliked her ex-husband. Learning the truth about her mother was difficult; family members told different stories, so Robinson didn’t know whether she was dead or married and living in Chicago. Though she had hoped solving the mystery of her family would be easier, the author leaves comforted by the connections she’s made and accepting of her mother’s decision to have her adopted.

Robinson vividly describes contrasts between cultures as she realistically details a quest inevitably complicated by the contradictions and contrariness of human nature.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2002

ISBN: 0-425-18496-X

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2002

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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