YONDER

ESSAYS

In this slim medley, novelist Hustvedt (The Blindfold, 1992; The Enchantment of Lily Dahl, 1996) ranges freely from autobiography to Vermeer’s Woman with a Pearl Necklace to Dickens to The Great Gatsby. The fine title piece takes as its subject the dichotomy of here and there, and the space in between, or “yonder”: Hustvedt’s native Minnesota and her parents’ Norway, Norway and New York City, where she makes her adult home. She writes about time, space, early memory, or what we ascribe to memory. She wonders what the world is like from her child’s point of view, and considers children’s sense of place, their preference for order in repetition. (“Yonder” and “home” are the twin poles of the child’s universe, notes Hustvedt.) In “Vermeer’s Annunciation,” a flash of insight into the painting of a young woman trying on a string of pearls leads Hustvedt to seek inspiration for the Dutch artist’s composition and figurative gesture in Renaissance depictions of the announcement of the incarnation to the Virgin Mary. Then, in the early master Fra Angelico’s Annunciation fresco in Florence, she finds an image as motionless as Vermeer’s. “A Plea for Eros” considers the mysterious attraction of strangeness and enchantment Hustvedt is able to feel for her longtime lover. Less personal and memorable but showing Hustvedt’s appreciation for Dickens’s dense metaphorical structures is a longer, scholarly piece on his last finished novel, Our Mutual Friend. In the closing essay, on still life, Hustvedt locates the primacy of “things” in our experience of solitude and considers the immediacy of the great allegorical paintings of the Dutch. Later painters of still life wanted something different. As she writes epigrammatically: “I am not tempted by CÇzanne’s pears in Still Life with Ginger Jar and Eggplants, because they are not pears. They are forms in the space of my perception.” A strong collection. Hustvedt’s essays, like the ordinary objects she identifies as the genesis of still life, are “dignified by the metamorphosis we call art.”

Pub Date: May 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-8050-5011-6

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1998

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

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

Did you like this book?

more