A loving and approachable coming-of-age story about generational change.

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STAY, DAUGHTER

Strict traditions face encroaching modernity in this memoir of a Muslim girl.

The author was a jeweler’s daughter in Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka, in the community of Galle Fort—at first blush, a traditional Muslim neighborhood. But in the 1950s, things were changing; already, the women of the island went out more than they had in years past and veiled themselves less. Before she reached the age of 12, Azad was allowed to spend time with her Christian friend Penny, ride a bicycle, and wear a bathing suit in public, and her doting, conservative father (whom she calls “Wappah”) was rarely unable to deny his daughter’s wants. However, her father still was committed to “the fierce protection of female honor” and still expected the women of his family to make a “good marriage,” so the author was “brought inside” when she came of age. But she was still interested in furthering her education and charmed by her English friends and Western comic books, so she hoped to attend university in the near future. But after her cousin ran off with a young man and Wappah reacted to the situation in an unexpectedly violent manner, subtle changes to custom and culture became more difficult to achieve. Azad’s debut memoir focuses on her memories of childhood and how she struggled against the more stringent aspects of her Muslim upbringing. However, her story is also the story of Galle Fort as the old-school residents struggled with young people becoming more Westernized. The setting is beautifully drawn, and its history comes alive. Just as important is the author’s father’s journey as a man who’s open to change but unsure of it. The book introduces many facets of Muslim culture with great respect, and Azad stingingly portrays Western prejudices, as when the author’s classmates face ridicule for using henna. She also relates her older family members’ opinions on such subjects as marriage while showing just how radical seemingly small changes can be in a traditional environment.

A loving and approachable coming-of-age story about generational change.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 249

Publisher: Perera Hussein Publishing House

Review Posted Online: March 24, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Such thoughts are raised by one great exception to this way of our world:  The Library of America.  Quietly, without...

HENRY JAMES

COMPLETE STORIES, 1864-1874

            As recently as a hundred years ago, in a more assured age than this, the enduring importance of a literary career could be measured by whether an edition of an author’s collected works was issued.  Bound in calfskin for the wealthy bibliophile, in a more modest cloth of some subdued hue for the less well-to-do, these sets made several statements about an age.  They suggested that readers could most appreciate writers by knowing the entirety of their work and not simply one or two particularly flashy efforts.  And those ranks of volumes, filling the shelves of home libraries, further showed that it was possible for individuals to possess much of the best work by the best minds.

            Who nowadays would be so audacious as to assert such a possibility?  The persistent literary and academic battles raging among various mutually uncomprehending camps would make consensus on most living authors almost unimaginable.  And how many writers would be comfortable issuing a set of their complete writings?  In a time when authors are only as memorable as their last book, when novelty is king, and when time for reading itself is forever under siege, the leisurely delight implied by collected works seems curious and antique.

            Such thoughts are raised by one great exception to this way of our world:  The Library of America.  Quietly, without contention or confusion, The Library has been issuing authoritative editions of the work of America’s most influential 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century writers in compact, crisply designed volumes at affordable prices.  So swiftly (there are now 108 in print) and with so little controversy in an era notable for wrangling has this been accomplished that it’s shocking to realize that so important a historical and cultural resource as The Library of America has been in existence for only two decades.  Again this fall, the eclectic nature of the project is evident in its editors’ offerings, which include the lucid, rather urgent political essays and speeches of James Madison, the surprisingly graceful natural-history writings of John James Audubon, the five influential crime novels of Dashiell Hammett, and a further volume of the stories of Henry James.  The Library’s editions are valuable in their own right, providing the finest versions of work that has shaped the national imagination.  They’re valuable also, however, as a corrective to the hectic spirit of our age, and as a pointed reminder that what a writer does over a lifetime – not within the confines of one or two bestsellers – is what matters most.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 1-883011-70-1

Page Count: 975

Publisher: Library of America

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1999

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ROGUE WARRIOR

The stormy career of a top Navy SEAL hotspur. Commander Marcinko, USN Ret., recently served time at Petersburg Federal Prison for conspiracy to defraud the Navy by overcharging for specialized equipment—the result, he says, of telling off too many admirals. It seems that his ornery and joyous aggression, nurtured by a Czech grandfather in a flinty Pennsylvania mining town, has brought him to grief in peace and to brilliance in war. Serving his first tour in Vietnam in 1966 as an enlisted SEAL expert in underwater demolition, Marcinko returned for a second tour as an officer leading a commando squad he had trained. Here, his accounts of riverine warfare—creeping underwater to Vietcong boats and slipping over their gunwales; raiding VC island strongholds in the South China Sea; steaming up to the Cambodian border to tempt the VC across and being overrun- -are galvanic, detailed, and told with a true craftsman's love. What did he think of the Vietcong? ``The bastards—they were good.'' His battle philosophy? ``...kill my enemy before he has a chance to kill me....Never did I give Charlie an even break.'' After the aborted desert rescue of US hostages in the Tehran embassy, Marcinko was ordered to create SEAL Team Six—a counterterrorist unit with worldwide maritime responsibilities. In 1983, the unit was deployed to Beirut to test the security of the US embassy there. Easily evading the embassy security detail, sleeping Lebanese guards, and the Marines, the SEALs planted enough fake bombs to level the building. When Marcinko spoke to ``a senior American official'' about the problem, the SEAL's blunt security advice was rejected, particularly in respect to car-bomb attacks. Ninety days later, 63 people in the embassy compound were killed by a suicide bomber driving a TNT-filled truck. Profane and asking no quarter: the real nitty-gritty, bloody and authentic. (Eight-page photo insert—not seen.)

Pub Date: March 2, 1992

ISBN: 0-671-70390-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1992

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