One of those rare biographies of popular icons—in this case, the author of Rebecca—that puts truth-telling ahead of mudslinging or whitewashing. Authorized to write this life by the Du Maurier family, and drawing on hitherto unpublished letters—including a cache of previously unknown love letters between Du Maurier and actress Gertrude Lawrence—British novelist/biographer Forster (Lady's Maid, 1991; Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1989, etc.) reveals a woman who, despite an appearance of happiness, was tortured by fears and disturbing ideas. Born into an illustrious family—her father was a noted actor-manager, her grandfather a celebrated artist and novelist—Du Maurier grew up in a lively London household where friends like J.M. Barrie and Edgar Wallace visited frequently. She was a moody, difficult child: Her mother was cold and aloof, and her father, whose closeness and attention she'd enjoyed as a child, became morbidly possessive as she grew older. Stunningly beautiful yet ill-at-ease in conventional company, Du Maurier was troubled by her awareness ``that there was no escape from being a girl [and that] she had forced herself to lock up in a box the boy she had at heart thought herself to be.'' Sexually attracted to women, she was also distinctly homophobic, a contradiction that would plague her throughout her life. Forster perceptively describes Du Maurier's affair with a lesbian French teacher; her marriage to ``Boy'' Browning, a famous general and subsequent member of the royal household; her relations with her three children; her great love for Gertrude Lawrence; and her writing, particularly Rebecca. Writing, it seems, not only allowed Du Maurier to be the family bread-winner but, more importantly, offered her release from her great ``fear of reality.'' She ``lived to write.'' Biography of the most exemplary kind, and, in its own way, as haunting an evocation of a troubled woman as Rebecca itself. (Thirty-three b&w photographs)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 1993

ISBN: 0-385-42068-4

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1993

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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


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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