A vibrantly intelligent reading pleasure.

TANGO LESSONS

A MEMOIR

An essayist’s debut memoir of how a passion for tango dancing transformed her life.

Flaherty took her first tango lessons when she was 16 and studying abroad in Argentina. Ten years later, she was living in New York, unhappily surveying the dismal prospects in both her love life and professional pursuits as an actress. Desperate “to do something, however bold or blind,” and longing for human touch, she plunged back into the world of tango. A traumatic childhood that included living with a substance-abusing, man-hungry mother marked the author at her deepest levels. The more she engaged with tango, the more she realized that at the core of her desire to master the dance was a wish to simply “close my eyes and trust.” Her first lessons felt like a liberating “insurrection.” But later encounters with “the maestro,” an older man who sought to school her in tango and a passion she did not want, tested her resolve. Flaherty persisted, and as she improved, she found other teachers who showed her that tango dancing was a dialogue of “betrayals and…broken loves” between two bodies as well as a pathway to a womanhood she had suppressed and ignored. She eventually found her way into the New York underground of tango venues, where she met Enzo, the lover who moved her into greater awareness of a body she had allowed to be led but had not allowed to lead. A fellow “tango nerd”–turned-friend named Marty helped the author evolve. With him, she learned to dance a tango that was a sensual expression of an autonomous woman unafraid to take risks in life and love. Well-researched, eloquent, and entertaining, Flaherty’s book is not only a witty, incisive reflection on a beloved dance and its history. It is also an intimate celebration of dance, life, and the art of taking chances.

A vibrantly intelligent reading pleasure.

Pub Date: June 19, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-98070-9

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 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...

NIGHT

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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