THE RETURN OF EVA PERON with The Killings in Trinidad

Naipaul on the prowl: three stinging pieces on the "unreal world of imitation"—in Trinidad, Argentina, and the Congo—and a capstone essay on Conrad. Originally published mainly between 1972 and 1975 (three in the New York Review of Books, one in the London Sunday Times), they include working notes, as it were, for the novels Guerrillas (1975) and A Bend in the River (1979). But their interest, individually and as a group, extends beyond Naipaul-watchers. "Michael X and the Black Power Killings in Trinidad," which leads off, is of cource the genesis of Guerrillas; but in this account of the making and unmaking of a would-be revolutionary—mesmerized by English cant and American black-power jargon—Naipaul delivers a body-blow to racial politics: the stupidity and the futility, yes (especially in black-majority Trinidad), but also the horror and the pity. "The Return of Eva Peron," multipartite, is more ruminative. Argentina is collapsing; guerrilla torture (1972) and official torture (1977) are glibly defended. Words, again: imprecations against colonialism, capitalism, police "pigs" in the first instance, invocations of the people's will in the second. "The social-intellectual diversions of the north are transformed"—in this sterile, second-hand society—"into horrible reality." "A New King for the Congo: Mobutu and the Nihilism of Africa" makes its point in the title: where the recent past is wiped out and the present is quicksand, a sham Africanism serves as an anchor. Here we find the beginnings of A Bend in the River—as well as the start of Naipaul's rediscovery ("or discovery") of Conrad as a progenitor, subject of the last brief, rangy essay. One may also discover in Naipaul himself less bitterness than appeared on first, early '70s reading, and more torment. A strong presence, a powerful collection.

Pub Date: March 26, 1980


Page Count: -

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1980

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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