AMAZON BEAMING

The strange and wonderful tale of National Geographic photographer Loren McIntyre's mystical journal from the depths of the Amazon basin to the river's ultimate source in the Andes, solemnly related by Popescu (The Last Wave; In Hot Blood, 1988 paperback.) With 40 years of Amazon exploration under his belt, as well as subsidiary careers in the US Navy and as a documentary filmmaker, McIntyre jumped at the chance to experience and photograph a ``first contact'' with an elusive Mayoruna tribe rumored to exist on the shores of the Rio Javari, an Amazon tributary. Airdropped onto the river's shore, McIntyre easily joined up with the seminomadic ``cat people''—who tattooed their faces and stuck spines in their cheeks to resemble their claimed jaguar ancestors- -but soon became hopelessly lost following their flight from an unseen enemy. Worried that his hired pilot would never find him, unable to speak the Indians' language, and suffering severe culture shock from jungle life, McIntyre nevertheless became fascinated by the Mayoruna headman, who seemed to communicate with the American through what McIntyre called ``beaming''—or mental telepathy. McIntyre apparently received mental messages regarding the tribe's plan to escape modern encroachers by traveling ``back to the beginning''—fasting, dancing, and ingesting natural hallucinogens to return to the safety of the beginning of time. After witnessing this ceremony, McIntyre returned to civilization, but he would experience a psychic reunion with the tribe—and, perhaps, their ancient ancestors—two years later while combing the Andes for the true source of the Amazon. Three stories—McIntyre's contact with the Mayoruna, his discovery of the Amazon's source, and his own inner, spiritual exploration—make for an occasionally unwieldy bundle of a book, but Popescu's awe, combined with McIntyre's general stupefaction, makes for fascinating reading. A sort of Castaneda exercise in mystical and ecological inquiry, perfectly timed for the New Age. (Sixteen pages of color photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-670-82997-8

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1991

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

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

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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