In these essays, journalist and essayist Vivian Gornick (Fierce Attachments, 1987) bravely faces—and, even more remarkable, clearly renders—loneliness and the ongoing search for human connection. Gornick brings us out on the striving, bustling streets of Manhattan, where she often finds herself walking, seeking a kind of company in the anonymous crowd. We follow her, too, into stifling, backbiting university communities where she has spent time as a visiting writing teacher, and to the Catskills, where, working as a waitress, she learned brutal lessons about human nature. She meditates painfully on a brilliant woman writer, a friend of hers, now dead, who was loved, even worshiped, by many people, yet spent her life evading intimacy. Gornick also devotes an essay to living alone; rethinking a dogmatic devotion to solitude—she once wrote a polemic called ``Against Marriage''—she ponders the ways in which, post-divorce, she has never really learned to live by herself. She is courageous in these pieces, both in what she will say and in what she is willing to see. Throughout, she beautifully articulates, from a feminist perspective, her struggle to work and create, and to from meaningful relationships with others. The collection's themes come together in a final essay on letter writing, in which she argues, that, though many complain that the telephone has killed the letter, both represent vital parts of life: the impulses to connect and to narrate. Gornick argues eloquently against choosing one form of expression over the other, though this essay is a little dated now that so many people, through e-mail, are charting a new course somewhere in between. Though Gornick's standards for quality conversation are higher than most people's—hence her vulnerability to the isolation that accompanies its absence—her hunger for connection and understanding resonates and inspires. Her prose is sharp and her characterizations—of her friends, modern life, and of herself— ring true. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 1996

ISBN: 0-8070-7090-4

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Beacon Press

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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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

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