Fitzgerald—born in Africa but now living in Britain—makes her American debut with this sometimes offbeat yet still wrenching account of the many pestilences ravaging Africa. As the African correspondent for the London Times and the Independent, Fitzgerald, along with her two daughters, had long made her home in Kenya. But in 1988, she was deported on what she says was a fabricated charge, almost certainly a result of the pieces she had written criticizing Kenyan leader Daniel Moi. This abrupt rupture provoked ``a situation so awful that `mid-life crisis' was an inadequate description,'' forcing Fitzgerald and others like her to become ``nomads travelling an uncertain route.'' Heeding Pascal's reflection that travel diverts us from despair, she made London her base and became a correspondent for the British Sunday Times. Here, she discusses Kenya's widespread human-rights abuses and corruption: A typical experience was that of the Danish government, whose $40 million gift to establish a rural development program disappeared without a trace; the war and famine in Ethiopia, ``where a sinister war machine was steamrolling back and forth across the carcass of a ravaged land''; the problems of poaching in the Central African Republic, an angry place that ``had known only dictatorship and dependency''; and the nasty war in Liberia, where atrocities turned entire towns into morgues. Paralleling these stories is her own personal odyssey, including visiting traditional healers, acquiring a fetish, and sacrificing a live chicken. Finally, Fitzgerald realized that ``home wasn't a place'' and, like the nomads, she was free—and ready to write this book. A riveting portrait of the endemic brutality and heartbreaking beauty that is the compelling paradox of contemporary Africa. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen)

Pub Date: June 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-670-84846-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 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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