USTINOV STILL AT LARGE by Peter Ustinov

USTINOV STILL AT LARGE

Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Sixty-five weekly columns, 199193, originally written by the versatile actor/director/novelist/memoirist Ustinov (The Old Man and Mr. Smith, 1991, etc.) for the European. The most judicious summary is the author's confession: ``When presented with a weekly column to fill in a respected newspaper, the temptation is to deal in a personal manner with the latest insult to reason that has been served up piping hot in the world's headlines.'' It's a temptation Ustinov inveterately yields to, and the results, at their best, cut geopolitical crises down to a series of suave blackout sketches--Desert Storm, the vanishing of the USSR, the L.A. riots, the Maastricht treaty, American presidential elections, the Israeli expulsion of terrorists, the Bosnian war. But Ustinov, for all his worldly urbanity as ambassador-at-large for UNICEF, remains as determined a political outsider as Russell Baker, the American columnist he most resembles. And his political analyses--good-hearted liberal commonplaces seasoned with hindsight--aren't trenchantly enough reasoned, or pungently enough expressed, to compel lasting attention. Worse, his less topical pieces--essays in praise of laziness, ``dreaming space,'' and the ordination of women; travel notes from Bangkok, Hong Kong, Australia, Sweden, Amsterdam (special brickbats to Schiphol Airport), Rome, Brussels (``my own country,'' realizes filmdom's Poirot), and Pittsburgh--show Ustinov all too ready to fill up his three-page quota with pleasant, inconsequential musings instead of the telling anecdotes that make him such a splendid raconteur. A fine friendship garland of civilized, perishable memories, but nothing worth saving for strangers. Illustrated with pen-and- ink drawings which show that even Ustinov can't do everything. (First printing of 50,000; $50,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: March 24th, 1995
ISBN: 0-87975-967-4
Page count: 218pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995




MORE BY PETER USTINOV

FictionMONSIEUR RENê by Peter Ustinov
by Peter Ustinov
FictionLIFE IS AN OPERETTA by Peter Ustinov
by Peter Ustinov
FictionTHE OLD MAN AND MR. SMITH by Peter Ustinov
by Peter Ustinov