A lyrically visceral memoir of love and loss.


An award-winning nonfiction writer explores the personal roots of a powerful and destructive love/hate relationship she shared with a married lesbian.

As a child, Febos (Creative Writing/Monmouth Univ.; Whip Smart, 2010) suffered from separation anxiety and nightmares, and she sleepwalked whenever her sea-captain father was away. When she was awake, she routinely “counted all the dangers my father might meet” and feared that she might be found unlovable enough that he would never return. Febos took solace in erotically charged stories that, as in the 1986 film Labyrinth, merged fantasy and horror. But in her teenage and young-adult years, her escapist tendencies took the forms of sexual obsessions with men and women and a drug addiction. When Febos met Amaia, a beautiful married lesbian who lived on the other side of the country, the attraction was immediate and intense. Amaia wooed her with expensive gifts that reminded her of the gifts her father would bring back to her. She writes, “each object was a promise, something I could hold when I could barely remember her face.” Caught in a web of obligation and desire that was as pleasurable as it was disturbing, Febos began a cross-country relationship that, in its secrecy and impossibility, was profoundly erotic. Her lover made Febos feel worshipped; Febos, in turn, found herself idolizing her lover. Yet at the same time, the author also experienced a primal fear of abandonment that came from Amaia’s physical, and at times emotional, unavailability. Her understanding of the relationship was heightened by her own coming to terms with the part–Native American, substance-abusing biological father she never knew growing up. With Amaia, she experienced both the paternal genetic legacy of addiction as well as the traumatic “legacy of abandonment, of erasure” that was her birthright as a Native American. Erotic and dark, the book is a courageous exploration of love as the ultimate form of plenitude and annihilation.

A lyrically visceral memoir of love and loss.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63286-657-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?