A resonant posthumous collection of pieces—most of which have never before appeared in print—from a distinguished black woman writer. Bambara, author of the critically acclaimed short-story collection Gorilla, My Love (not reviewed) and the novel The Salteaters (1980), died last year from cancer at the age of 56. This collection includes six short stories and several essays, as well as an interview with Bambara, conducted by her friend Louis Massiah. The latter, titled ``How She Came By Her Name,'' is a wonderful exploration of Bambara's personal history, identity, and values, as well as her thoughts about her four most profound commitments: community activism, writing, motherhood, and film. Several essays discuss the history of black independent film and its importance to black cultural autonomy and expression; in the 1980s she came to prefer film over fiction and spent much of her time writing scripts, as well as editing, analyzing, and teaching film. She is also profoundly moving on the subject of her Harlem girlhood; she refers repeatedly to her memories of the neighborhood's legendary Speaker's Corner in the 1930s as a model for community discourse—and celebrates as well Harlem's bookstores, movie houses, and libraries. Sometimes these pieces tend toward the pedantic or polemical, becoming labored in a way that her fiction never is. Indeed, the fiction here is masterful- -alive with powerful women, animated by rage at racial injustice, narrated in a compressed, powerful prose that is rich, varied, but always precise. In the preface to this collection, Toni Morrison, Bambara's longtime editor and friend, writes that ``I don't know if she knew the heart cling of her fiction.'' Whether she did or not, with the release of Deep Sightings, many readers will.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-44250-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Pantheon

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1996

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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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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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