A must for fans of Southern, that great satirist, and a revealing look into the litbiz of old.

A collection of letters from one of the 20th century’s most satirically witty writers.

It’s no surprise that Southern, the author of The Magic Christian and Candy, among other then-controversial books, should have taken an unusually thorough interest in genitalia. Among the admonitions in this entertaining gathering of letters is a note t friend and partner in crime Mason Hoffenberg that a certain young woman “is pointing your way, Mace, her loins heavy with the desire of you. She asked me what I thought her chances of getting some of your teencie.” Teencie? Well, if Keith Richards can write of a certain rock star’s “tiny todger,” the word will have to stand. Though loins and organs figure heavily in these pages, elsewhere Southern is given to business, pleading with Whoopi Goldberg here to allow him to write a vehicle for her (“When, oh when, shall such a grand showcase for your ultra-fab talents present itself again?"), there suggesting to Chuck Barris that the two of them might just cook up a game show together (“I have formats aplenty for some quite outlandish (though wholly credible) game shows, which could serve your purpose in ultra fab stead!”) Still elsewhere, Southern is more restrained, as when writing to William Saroyan and Philip Roth, though no less playful. To read through these letters, written to the likes of Allen Ginsberg, Ringo Starr, and Stanley Kubrick, is to take a wide-ranging tour of popular and literary culture during the golden age of the 1960s and ’70s. Southern begins to run out of steam after those anni mirabili, and some of the later letters have a get-off-my-lawn quality, as when he chides Phil Donahue for being nice to Rush Limbaugh. Still, to read of Southern’s demise while still hard at work is sobering—hard at work establishing a reputation beyond that of a writer’s writer, that is.

A must for fans of Southern, that great satirist, and a revealing look into the litbiz of old.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9838683-9-2

Page Count: 368


Review Posted Online: Oct. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2015



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




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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