An exemplary work of writerly autobiography.

THE FAT MAN AND INFINITY

AND OTHER WRITINGS

Lively, wholly enjoyable memoir by prolific Portuguese novelist Antunes (What Can I Do When Everything’s on Fire?, 2008, etc.).

The author confesses to having an ideal reader in his grandmother, who, for complicated reasons, thought he was destined for a priestly, even archiepiscopal career and opened the money box whenever he produced an appropriately religious sonnet. But Antunes’s ambitions and interests would turn worldly. Early on, he confesses, he “would have preferred my identity card to bear a name like the Cisco Kid or Hopalong Cassidy,” Wild West figures that would in turn give way to other heroes. It would take him years to sort out what writers were and how they were supposed to act. In one irony-laden episode, he confesses his one-time belief that writers wore linen suits and ate ice-cream cones daily, whereupon he “started eating five bread rolls with cherry jam for breakfast every morning in the hope of growing a belly” and thus entered that sacred order. With brothers, a rascally uncle, pro goalkeepers and teachers alternately steering him straight, inspiring him and setting him to mischief, Antunes describes a sentimental education on the streets of Lisbon and a loss of innocence, on many levels, in faraway Angola, where he did service in the medical corps during the last days of the Salazar dictatorship and the Estado Novo. Antunes writes with a pleasing blend of realism and magic, similar to the Fellini of Amarcord and the Neruda of Confieso Que He Vivido.

An exemplary work of writerly autobiography.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-393-06198-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2008

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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