Highly emotional and intensely thought-provoking.

QUENCH YOUR THIRST WITH SALT

Earthquakes, erosion and other terrors of terra firma parallel the crumbling world of a young Mormon woman who slowly watched her father drink himself to death.

“I had a dad,” Walker says. “He drank like a fish. He drank like a fish in a city that has no water.” The city in question is Salt Lake City, and the pain and anguish the author experienced there ran as deep as nearby Lake Meade. Walker, a sensitive writer, candidly reflects on all of it in a way that is both raw and cerebral. At some point, she says, the senses of self and place mixed together in an emulsification that can no longer be separated. The author performs the same bit of alchemy in other environs and at other stations in her life. The lushness of Portland, Oregon—“skies mottled gray, egg-shell gray, steel gray or concrete gray deliver see-through rain, blue rain, river rain, ocean rain to make all the variations of green”—where Walker studied in college, vividly contrasts the aridness of Salt Lake City. Each time Walker looks without at her surroundings, she seems to peer deeper into her own soul; without geography’s help, the introspection might be unmanageable, as if water and stones help convey the depths of her own experience. In particular, water—and the lack of it—plays a huge part in the consistently moving memoir. Although highly personal, the book flows with an undercurrent of what it means to be a girl in this world. For Walker, under the pall of Mormonism and a tragic father, those broader concerns eventually burst into a torrent of ugly fear upon learning that she was about to give birth to a baby girl of her own. She realized that the task of protecting the innocent newborn could be impossible—a seismic shift in her coming-of-age.

Highly emotional and intensely thought-provoking.

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0978612771

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Zone 3 Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2014

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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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