An incomplete tribute that may please some Hazzard fans but leave others adrift.


A Sri Lankan–born Australian novelist offers a brief paean to a much-admired fellow Australian writer.

De Kretser (The Life To Come, 2017, etc.), who moved to Australia with her family in 1972, fell in love with the novels of Shirley Hazzard (1931-2016) because they “spoke of places from which I had come and places to which I longed to go.” They also offered a view of Australia that was cleareyed about such problems as sexism and racial prejudice, which helped the author come to terms with living as an Asian woman in a white-dominated country. Moreover, Hazzard’s novels revealed a deep engagement with history and especially imperialism, a topic with which de Kretser was intimately acquainted. Hazzard was also a keen craftsperson who “read her work aloud to herself to get the rhythms right” and consciously sought to create high literary art. De Kretser writes that “movement of poetry infiltrates [Hazzard’s] prose,” and she offers examples from various, often unnamed, novels of the “precision, swiftness [and] taste for compassion” with which Hazzard used adjectives, described places and characters, and expressed political views. De Kretser’s book is strongest in its very personal, often moving appreciation for Hazzard’s work. As literary criticism, the narrative is flawed. De Kretser provides only bits and pieces about Hazzard’s life and brief reflections about important novels like The Bay of Noon, which was shortlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize in 2010, and The Great Fire, which won the 2003 National Book Award. She offers little biographical, historical, critical, social, or political details and no cited references that would help those not already acquainted with Hazzard and/or Australian 20th-century literature more deeply appreciate this important novelist. As a result, the book reads more like a disconnected collection of poignant private musings than a text meant to educate readers who might be interested in exploring Hazzard’s life and work.

An incomplete tribute that may please some Hazzard fans but leave others adrift.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-948226-82-0

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Catapult

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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