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A young journalist-adventurer takes to the road in the time- honored Kerouac tradition. After a limp first chapter in which he pens sticky, self- referential homage to everyone from Merle Haggard to Robert Frost (``About the poetry: I loved the idea of Robert Frost, a farmer- poet whose hands were calloused, who knew things....I didn't feel like I knew jack''), Heller hits his stride recounting a series of wild, often dangerous adventures, usually in the outdoors. He writes of living with a mercenary in Alaska while working in a cannery, of building sea walls on the Olympic Peninsula, of lobstering with a near-maniacal fisherman in Rhode Island, of kayaking the treacherous rivers of the Soviet High Pamirs, and of witnessing the death of a friend in China. Heller is not so much concerned with place as he is with people, and most of his essays have the fine-tuned dramatic timing of quality fiction. His prose is crisp and filled with many quiet yet effective moments, as in his description of logging in Vermont: ``There is a shuddering of air, a rush and crash of limbs, and you stand in the murmuring stillness, saw idling, as full of life as you've ever been.'' Simple yet often powerful, capturing both the loneliness and the romance of the nomadic life.

Pub Date: May 15, 1992

ISBN: 0-930031-53-9

Page Count: 176

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1992

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This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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