MATISSE, PICASSO, MIRO AS I KNEW THEM

Bernier's first book is a reshaping of her slide and lecture series often given at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and elsewhere. The author, wife of art critic John Russell and founding editor of L'OEil, writes splendidly of her three artists on a personal level and covers a lot of ground artistically without ever getting in very deep or stopping for a rich examination of the works at hand. She always charms, however, especially when revealing lost treasures that she discovered firsthand. (The book's 350 illustrations, including 200 color, seen largely in b&w photocopy, give every indication of being knockouts.) Despite moments of evident warmth the artists showed her, Bernier's day-to- day reminiscences of her three heroes reinforce what we already know of them, and at times bring these men popping off the page with a line or two of dialogue without offering fresh insight into their work. Her stories cover the first 20 years in France following WW II, when her magazine was at its peak (it changed hands in 1969) and when, through her ``genius for friendship'' (as her husband puts it), she was gathering fresh material for L'OEil. Perhaps her biggest strike was a big cache of Picasso works the painter had left with his family in Barcelona 50 years earlier and that he directed her tomany were black with grime but when cleaned revealed the teenage artist's astounding facility as a realist. Bernier's most captivating passage about Matisse concerns the bedridden artist's slowly evolving plans and inspiration for the Chapelle de Sainte-Marie-du-Rosaire at Vence and the sudden impetus to his work that thoughts of stained-glass windows in strong sunlight gave him. Mir¢ tells her about his painting of The Farm, which turned out to be too big for any dealer to sell; the young Hemingway bought it ``for pennies, but he liked it a lot.'' A moveable feast. Clear off the coffee table.*justify no*

Pub Date: Oct. 21, 1991

ISBN: 0-394-58670-0

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1991

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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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