Veteran BBC-correspondent Tully (coauthor, India: Forty Years of Independence, 1988) draws upon a lifetime of living in India as he illuminates some of the many complex issues facing the subcontinent nation. Tully, who was born in Calcutta of English parents, comes to his subject armed with extensive knowledge of the day-to-day machinations of life in India, and it is this intimacy that gives his book its greatest strength. He examines such Indian phenomena as the caste system, the Kumbh Mela (the world's largest religious festival), and Operation Blue Star (the Indian army's attack on the Sikh Golden Temple in 1984 that led directly to Indira Gandhi's assassination) by both analyzing the historical, political, social, and religious forces behind them and by speaking with Indians from all walks of life. Many of his facts are fascinating: It is considered proper for a bridegroom's relatives to arrive drunk at a wedding, for example, but the bride's relatives must remain sober. Tully's chapters on the ``The New Colonialism'' and ``The Deorala Sati'' are especially engrossing. In the first, he writes of the elite's fawning embrace of Western culture, and of a kind of encounter group for Dalits (formerly called ``untouchables'') in which they share tales of indignations still forced upon them and are encouraged to remember that they are ``Dravidians—the original Indians who were here long before the Aryan Brahmins.'' In the second, he recounts reactions when a young woman, in an ancient ``sati'' ritual, immolates herself on her husband's funeral pyre; some insist that she committed suicide, others that she was murdered. A well-written study that penetrates deeply into the psyche of modern-day India.

Pub Date: April 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-394-57399-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1992

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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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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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