A gripping memoir about a gay man with feet in India and the U.S. as well as a book about how to put together a life.

AN INDEFINITE SENTENCE

A PERSONAL HISTORY OF OUTLAWED LOVE AND SEX

A public health visionary gets personal with a powerful exploration of “the beguiling possibilities of gender beyond the conventional bipolarity of male and female, and the mysterious, limitless permutations of sexual desire.”

World Policy Institute senior fellow Dube (Sex, Lies, and AIDS, 2001, etc.) was born in Calcutta and is known for his work on poverty and AIDS. In this memoir, published in India in 2015, he recounts his journey to come out as a young gay man in India and America and his efforts to find a loving relationship in midlife. Much of the book, which begins when the author was 10 in 1971, reads like a novel, and he delivers many moving descriptions of various gay coming-of-age moments—e.g., the first time he was tested for HIV and his encounter with a Keith Haring mural, which “hit me with the force that Picasso’s Guernica had.” Equally affecting is Dube’s inquiry into the ways in which his personal and professional lives have intersected. For example, he undertook research into the unfolding HIV crisis in India at a time when female sex workers were in the bull’s-eye of HIV discourse in India. They had, Dube writes, “spared us blame and persecution for carrying the ‘gay plague,’ ” and the author had a kinship with them—like him, they knew what it was like to feel like an outcast. Yet in his policy writing, he “deliberately chose to keep silent about what I knew for a fact, that a significant proportion of Indian men were having unprotected sex with other men, thus putting themselves at risk of contracting HIV.” Dube also offers insights into the trials of love and of middle age. His account of the end of a long-term relationship—with its pitch-perfect description of two people who still love each other who can’t admit they are breaking up—will resonate with many readers.

A gripping memoir about a gay man with feet in India and the U.S. as well as a book about how to put together a life.

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5847-6

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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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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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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