As accomplished and intelligent as the author’s fiction—which is saying a lot.



Engaging collection of literary and personal essays, most previously published, from novelist Hustvedt (What I Loved, 2003, etc.).

The author’s single most impressive skill, evident in all the best pieces here, is the way she uses autobiography to illuminate more general points. In “Yonder,” which opens the volume, Hustvedt illustrates the importance of place in our imaginative lives with examples from her experiences as a Midwestern girl who spent considerable time in Norway (her mother’s native country) and who has now lived in New York for 27 years. The tender, wickedly funny “Living with Strangers” and the moving “9/11, or One Year Later” pay tribute to her adopted home by recalling some of the personal encounters that have shaped her delight in “the city of immigrants, of pluralism, and of tolerance.” The latter essay will strike a particular chord with all New Yorkers, as it evokes the intimate nature of their confrontation with the World Trade Center tragedy: “For weeks afterward, the first question we asked friends and neighbors…was: ‘Is your family all right? Did you lose anybody?’ ” She also draws on her life to buttress her argument in “A Plea for Eros” that “to pretend that ambiguity doesn’t exist in sexual relations is just plain stupid.” Hustvedt’s use of autobiographical material is so delicate and judicious that it never seems self-aggrandizing; it works just as well in literary essays like “Gatsby’s Glasses” or “Charles Dickens and the Morbid Fragment” as in the more journalistic entries. Her prose is elegant yet down-to-earth, in keeping with the democratic sympathies and substantive intellectual interests she displays throughout. Though the collection spans a decade (1995–2005), it is unified by the author’s voice: so direct and appealing that many readers will hope to one day bump into Hustvedt on the sidewalks of the Brooklyn neighborhood she lovingly describes in several pieces.

As accomplished and intelligent as the author’s fiction—which is saying a lot.

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2006

ISBN: 0-312-42553-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Picador

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2005

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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