A provocative, multileveled ``meditation'' on Emperor Hirohito's 1989 death, raising dark questions about Japan's war guilt in the context of its triumphant prosperity today. As the child of a Japanese woman and an American soldier, Field (East Asian Studies/Univ. of Chicago) tells a story of postwar Japan inextricably linked to her own. She grew up in Tokyo, in her grandmother's house, ``finally'' leaving after high school to join her father in the US. In August 1988, Field returned to Tokyo for a yearlong stay. From her grandmother's oleander-filled, walled garden, she observed a driven, repressive ``democracy'' held in a deathwatch for its emperor. This ``frail embodiment of the war,'' whose funeral becomes a ``celebration of the successes of Japanese capitalism,'' Field sees as both promoter and symbol of Japan's ``national amnesia.'' The economic miracle has come at astronomical cost: ``In the society [the Japanese] are growing into,'' she writes, ``the most significant and only reliable freedom is the freedom to buy ever more refined commodities.'' Backing into her powerful points as she shifts between personal and global issues, Field structures her narrative around the stories of three ``resisters'': a supermarket owner who burns the ``Rising Sun'' flag; a widow who sues to stop the state from making her late husband a Shinto deity; and the mayor of Nagasaki, who publicly calls the emperor responsible for the war—for the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, for the Battle of Okinawa. The horror the Japanese refuse to remember is here most powerfully conveyed by eyewitness accounts of ``babies' cries...stilled'' by Japanese troops hiding from the ``bloodless'' American invasion. An intelligent, informed, deeply felt interrogation of Japan that offers a rare insider-outsider point of view while implicitly questioning America's influence on this rich but troubled country.*justify no*

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-679-40504-6

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    


Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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