An engaging, poetic, educative examination of the search for home and personal and cultural identity.

RED PAINT

THE ANCESTRAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A COAST SALISH PUNK

A punk-infused memoir by a Coast Salish woman about her connection to her heritage.

Beginning with a poem, a story from her family’s history, and a description of what the book is and is not—“what happens in the longhouse is not what this story is about, but this is a story about healing”—LaPointe shifts back and forth between her own story and those of her family, specifically her great-grandmother and an ancestor who lost her own family to smallpox. Throughout the book, the author deftly navigates multiple timelines, weaving in and out of family history, personal narrative, and a host of other tangential topics: the Washington music scene, her love of Twin Peaks, a show “heavy with dark and supernatural themes, often terrifying, and along with Nirvana, responsible for putting this rainy corner of the Pacific Northwest on the map.” The author connects concepts of home across generations, especially great-grandmother’s recollections of moving throughout her childhood: “‘My mother traveled with a rolled-up piece of linoleum,’ she’d recall warmly. ‘No matter where we were, she’d lay it down, she’d create home wherever she could.’ ” The image of linoleum as home reoccurs, tying into LaPointe’s discussion of her experience with teenage homelessness, while also expanding the concept of home to include that of her people historically. “My Family, my tribe, my ancestors, we were something temporary to the settlers,” she writes. “Something that would eventually go away. Whether by disease or alcohol or poverty, our genocide was inevitable to them. I looked at the smoke pluming from the metal chimneys of the small reservation houses along the highway. But here we were, existing in our impermanent homes.” Although the author does not shy away from heartache and sorrow, readers are welcomed on what is ultimately a healing journey that will stick in their memories.

An engaging, poetic, educative examination of the search for home and personal and cultural identity.

Pub Date: March 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64009-414-7

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Counterpoint

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY

Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more