Even when Morris is not on her A game, she still manages to convey her passionate longing.

Morris chronicles her journey to India, where she sought a tiger and found herself.

The author, who has won the Rome Prize in literature and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for fiction, has published multiple novels, story collections, and travel memoirs, including the acclaimed Nothing To Declare. At first blush, her latest seems rather thin and underrealized, its time-shifting format a distracting affectation. Soon, however, readers will acknowledge that this approach propels rather than disrupts the narrative flow even if some of Morris’ impressionistic asides seem like random thoughts. The author recounts her devastating ankle injury in 2008, arduous recovery, and the 2011 journey to India that took her all the way to the tigers. This last is a mostly uneventful tale, defined by a raging bronchial infection, bitter cold, and long periods of disappointment in the jungle. But Morris uses these longueurs to travel within, pondering the challenging relationship she shared with her parents, youthful self-doubts, old demons, and her not-always-seamless emergence as a writer. These passages arrive with disarming candor. Though the accounts of her travails preparing for and finally traveling in India seem rather ill-humored for a veteran globe-trotter like Morris, the savvy travel writer generally shines through. Her descriptions of the villages and cities on her route are characteristically honest, observant, and striking. Her reports on the nature of the Bengal tiger, as well as conservation efforts to restore its numbers, add to our understanding of the animal and its place in the human imagination. For Morris, the restless child who became a restive traveler, the adventure is always about seizing the moment, impermanence, and escape. "Real travelers, like real writers, move through the world like a child,” she writes. "With a child's sense of wonder and surprise. To move as if you’ve never been somewhere before, even if you’ve been there a thousand times.”

Even when Morris is not on her A game, she still manages to convey her passionate longing.

Pub Date: June 9, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-385-54609-6

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Nan A. Talese

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006



Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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