March 6, 2011 |
Many memoirs, and some of the best, are survival stories, tales told by that supposedly fortunate person who emerged living but not unscarred from the carnage of natural disaster or personal tragedy. Survival comes with a price tag: Not only must the survivor move forward, but he or she must assess his or her position vis-à-vis what occurred. That is what Brooke Hayward does in her classic memoir "Haywire" (Vintage: 329 pp., $16 paper), now reissued more than 30 years after its original publication, with an introduction by Buck Henry and a new afterword by the author.
January 2, 2011 |
Bruce Chatwin, the brilliant English writer and stylish nomad, died from AIDS in late 1989. His memorial service, held in a Greek Orthodox Cathedral in London on the day that Ayatollah Khomeini handed a death sentence to Chatwin's friend Salman Rushdie, was a legendary event, mobbed by fans, celebrities and hundreds of journalists. Chatwin was by then a cult ? admired as much for his self-mythologizing persona and the values of independent scholarship and lonely questing that he seemed to represent as for his clipped, lapidary prose.
November 21, 2010 |
The handwritten pages of James Boswell's " London Journal 1762-1763" languished forgotten in a trunk in Scotland before being brought to light in the middle of the last century and issued under the auspices of Yale University. This event, together with publication of successive hordes of newly discovered Boswell material, at last separated him from Dr. Samuel Johnson, in whose large and overbearing shadow he had lingered after writing his biography, and established him as a personality in his own right.
July 20, 2008
Paula L. Woods reviews "Still Waters: A Mystery" by Nigel McCrery. Elisabeth Vincentelli reviews "Don't You Forget About Me," a novel by Jancee Dunn. Tim Rutten reviews "Still Alive!: A Temporary Condition" by Herbert Gold. Fred Schruers reviews "Hollywood Under Siege: Martin Scorsese, the Religious Right and the Culture Wars" by Thomas R. Lindlof. Brett Levy reviews "Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge," edited by Damien Broderick. Dick Lochte reviews "Shadow of Power: A Paul Madriani Novel" by Steve Martini.
January 31, 2010 |
Brian Moore was born in Northern Ireland, immigrated to Canada and spent much of his life living here in California, in Malibu. He wrote scripts, short stories and a string of novels, many of which, like "The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne," "Black Robe" and "The Statement," were turned into films. He worked with Alfred Hitchcock on "Torn Curtain," an experience Moore memorably described as "like washing floors." Moore never quite left his Irish behind and was never without his admirers, winning praise from Joan Didion, Graham Greene and Patricia Highsmith, among others.
March 28, 2010 |
William Lindsay Gresham's novel "Nightmare Alley" (NYRB Classics: 288 pp., $16) tells the rise-and-fall story of Stan Carlisle, a hustling carnival wanna-be who transforms himself into the Great Stanton, a big-time stage magician, and then into a fake psychic, running a "spook racket" before reaching too far and engineering his own catastrophe. In the end, Carlisle is torn apart by the very same emotional disturbances that have driven him, let down by a woman who loves him and betrayed by another who is even more ruthless than he. The "nightmare" of the title rings true, for this delirious and unstoppable novel -- first published in 1946, famously filmed starring Tyrone Power in 1947 and only now re-issued by NYRB Classics in its full, uncensored version with a new introduction by Nick Tosches -- inverts the American dream.