A pedophilic fantasy by the popular gay novelist (The Sex Offender, 1994, etc.) whose earlier work showed signs of a vivid imagination rather reluctantly reined in. Here, if hardly for the good, he pulls out all the stops. Most schoolteachers would consider it a tragedy to be fired for moral turpitude. But for narrator Matthew, it’s a good lead. Forced into a year’s leave of absence by irate parents who complain of a nonexistent —love affair— between him and their son, Matthew figures out that the lad is gay—and proceeds to seduce him after the fact. Then, when he’s given a paid leave, Matthew decides to change the scenery. His Seattle neighbor Herbert, a museum curator, is about to embark for Paris in an attempt to locate Picasso’s sketches of Gertrude Stein’s nephew Allan. Matthew and Herbert look uncannily alike, so Herbert allows Matthew to use his passport and go in his place. (Why Matthew couldn—t simply have gotten a cheap flight and cruised the bathhouses on his own is a question we—re apparently meant to suspend.) In Paris, Matthew becomes friendly with a family living down the hall, and he quickly falls in love with their teenaged son, StÇphane. It’s not long before he has StÇphane servicing him. Meanwhile, he tries to piece together the story of Allan Stein, whose strange and sad childhood in the homes of turn-of-the-century Paris intellectuals haunts Matthew almost as much as his search for the Picasso sketches does. In pursuit of the latter, Matthew leaves for the south of France—with StÇphane in tow. Eventually, StÇphane’s parents learn that Matthew is an imposter as well as a pedophile, but StÇphane has no regrets. The course of true love, for Matthew at least, is never straight. A hackneyed portrayal of gay lust: vacuous, pointless, and tasteless in the extreme.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8021-1653-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1998

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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

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Title notwithstanding, this latest from the National Book Award–winning author is no guidebook to getting woke.

In fact, the word “woke” appears nowhere within its pages. Rather, it is a combination memoir and extension of Atlantic columnist Kendi’s towering Stamped From the Beginning (2016) that leads readers through a taxonomy of racist thought to anti-racist action. Never wavering from the thesis introduced in his previous book, that “racism is a powerful collection of racist policies that lead to racial inequity and are substantiated by racist ideas,” the author posits a seemingly simple binary: “Antiracism is a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” The author, founding director of American University’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center, chronicles how he grew from a childhood steeped in black liberation Christianity to his doctoral studies, identifying and dispelling the layers of racist thought under which he had operated. “Internalized racism,” he writes, “is the real Black on Black Crime.” Kendi methodically examines racism through numerous lenses: power, biology, ethnicity, body, culture, and so forth, all the way to the intersectional constructs of gender racism and queer racism (the only section of the book that feels rushed). Each chapter examines one facet of racism, the authorial camera alternately zooming in on an episode from Kendi’s life that exemplifies it—e.g., as a teen, he wore light-colored contact lenses, wanting “to be Black but…not…to look Black”—and then panning to the history that informs it (the antebellum hierarchy that valued light skin over dark). The author then reframes those received ideas with inexorable logic: “Either racist policy or Black inferiority explains why White people are wealthier, healthier, and more powerful than Black people today.” If Kendi is justifiably hard on America, he’s just as hard on himself. When he began college, “anti-Black racist ideas covered my freshman eyes like my orange contacts.” This unsparing honesty helps readers, both white and people of color, navigate this difficult intellectual territory.

Not an easy read but an essential one.

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-50928-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: One World/Random House

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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