STEPPING WESTWARD

THE LONG SEARCH FOR HOME IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

The Pacific Northwest, as concept and reality, is the focus of this impressionistic, strangely seductive pastiche from lifelong area-resident Tisdale (The Sorcerer's Apprentice, 1986; Harvest Moon, 1987; Lot's Wife, 1988). The densely worded, unstructured narrative paints an ecological and spiritual portrait of a land often threatened by its most ardent admirers. Interwoven with historical records—including the testimony of explorers, pioneers, and the author herself—are accounts of the ways ``we destroy the land in order to inhabit it'': deforestation from logging; fishing and hunting to extinction; dams eradicating unique terrain and wildlife; the near- genocide of native tribes. But, ``seduced by this land,'' Tisdale is at her most impassioned in depicting forests, mountains, and waterways—which seem more alive here than the people who traverse them. They are seen as epic, not only in size (Douglas firs with ``more needles than this country has people,'' mountains equal in volume to one-trillion six-foot men), but also in the rhythms of existence, such as the ``climax forest,'' which, ``left alone...will pulse its own slow pulse, exhale its own slow breath, forever.'' At times, the lush, overheated prose makes for difficult reading, yet it works admirably in reflecting the bounty of the area. And, refreshingly, Tisdale, an admitted ``tree hugger,'' does little ecological lecturing, preferring to let her tale of nature caught in a fragile balance with civilization convey its own message. An odd and lovely work for partisans of the region and nature- lovers in general.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 1991

ISBN: 0-8050-1353-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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NUTCRACKER

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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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

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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