Initially, one fears this may be a crass exposé of the “queer” life of the artist, but Peppiatt shows a deft hand in...

FRANCIS BACON IN YOUR BLOOD

A MEMOIR

Peppiatt (Art Plural: Voices of Contemporary Art, 2014, etc.) delivers “the subjective story of two lives, focusing on the complex, volatile relationship that bound [Francis] Bacon and me together over…three decades.”

The author describes Bacon as the Dr. Caligari of art, painting portraits of twisted, distorted, disfigured, and discolored bodies. Their first meeting was in 1963, when Peppiatt interviewed the “subversive” artist. The author felt as if he were being sucked in, trapped, and out of his depth with this alcoholic, sadomasochistic homosexual. He was a willing victim who spent a large part of his life preserving Bacon’s rants. Life with the artist was a succession of fine meals at top-notch restaurants followed by stops at clubs of steadily decreasing social acceptance and ending with late meals at Annabel’s. Peppiatt succeeded in remembering Bacon’s words mostly because he repeated himself so often. Champagne was followed by wine and liquor of increasing strength, as well as plenty of gambling. The author describes Bacon as “very critical and unforgiving in his opinions of other people and above all their art; very supportive but also very destructive; very vain and arrogant yet surprisingly realistic and modest.” Though Peppiatt was never sexually attached, he was a Boswell-like sounding board and a link for introductions. The young author took to the free-wheeling 1960s, exploring in France, Tangier, and Spain, always returning to Bacon. It’s likely that his ties to Bacon and his connections to the stars of the art world helped him to a wonderful career in art history and publishing, but the author is fully candid and open in his beguiling portrait of this bad boy of the art world.

Initially, one fears this may be a crass exposé of the “queer” life of the artist, but Peppiatt shows a deft hand in crafting an enthralling, delightful story of two very different men.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63286-344-7

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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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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