A great idea for a journal issue, but forgettable in this format.

LOST CLASSICS

Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Ondaatje, and many, many others remember favorite books the rest of us have supposedly forgotten. When editors of the Canadian literary journal Brick sat down on a rainy afternoon and thought of asking their long-time contributors to tell them “the story of a book loved and lost, books that had been overlooked or under-read, that had been stolen and never retrieved, or that were long out of print,” one imagines them envisioning an outcome similar to what happened on another rainy evening long ago when Byron and the Shelleys challenged each other to a ghost story. What results this time is no Frankenstein. The 70-odd short reminiscences of mostly obscure works, while at times touching, are largely self-serving and do not resonate from one vignette to the next. The pieces are too short to yield useful theoretical musings on the memories of reading—which is especially unfortunate since such a forum would be the perfect opportunity to study some well-known writers as readers. While the concept is enticing, its execution leaves something to be desired.

A great idea for a journal issue, but forgettable in this format.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-72086-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Anchor

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2001

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NUTCRACKER

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 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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