Resonant memories captured with lyrical grace.


A chronicle of the author's global interactions.

As a creative writer, activist, educator, and humanitarian aid worker, Holden’s life is a prismatic tapestry of moods, relationships, travel, and culture. In a collected series of essays and anecdotal meditations, she chronicles the many paths her travels have taken her, including time spent as an art model, crossing the border from Turkey into a Syrian “war zone” camp, and in Northern California, where she lives with her cousin. The author’s observations of Syria are intricately drawn and compassionately depict the area’s war-torn people and their seemingly “bleak future.” Holden’s creation of Survival Girls, a women’s theater group for Congolese refugees in Nairobi, Kenya, forms the backdrop for several anecdotes about female empowerment and enlightenment through performance and improvisation. Her writing is consistently and impressively flexible, wrapping around subject matter from varying corners of the intellectual and emotional spectrum. Reflections on the complexities of political exile in Inner Mongolia run alongside accounts of several visits to Bolivia, where she receives a message from a male ex-lover who broke her heart but with whom she commingled after breaking up with a clingy girlfriend. The author also presents thoughts about the Ferguson unrest and memories of planting seedlings on an island off the coast of Maine, a place where “ghosts are loosened.” Holden’s inspired prose forms a kaleidoscope of emotion, oscillating from the elegiac to the gorgeous to the humorous and self-deprecating, as when she describes her naiveté when first approaching Syrian soil: “I have no poker face and all the diplomatic discretion of Honey-Boo-Boo.” Discussing the shock of being 12 days pregnant, she writes how she composed a poem “to the unborn child I wasn’t ready for, whose mother wouldn’t have a house, a viable income, or a spouse.” Overall, the collection is poetic and entrancing, and the author’s experiences are deep and affecting. Though her travels may not personally affect every reader, her sensorial imagery of them will be contemplated with artful appreciation.

Resonant memories captured with lyrical grace.

Pub Date: June 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-888553-95-6

Page Count: 252

Publisher: Kore Press

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 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 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...


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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