ALL RIVERS RUN TO THE SEA

MEMOIRS

Drenched with sad yearning, yet narrated with simplicity in the limpid singsong that distinguishes his oral as well as written narrative, Wiesel's memoir reveals much, if not enough, about the man whose purpose in life has been to testify to the fate of his people. Journalist, novelist (A Beggar in Jerusalem, 1969; The Forgotten, 1992, etc.), moralist, witness to the Holocaust (Night, 1960): This is the Wiesel we have always known. What do we learn about the unknown Wiesel as he tells of his life from his childhood in the Transylvanian town of Sighet through his marriage in 1969, where this volume ends? Vividly recreating the intense Jewish life of Sighet, he paints a young Elie who's a dreamer and a mystic. One of the most engaging (and tragic) episodes is his aattempt with two friends to use the Kabbalah to force the arrival of the Messiah. This hubristic act of idealism ends with two of the boys falling mad. Later, with disarming honesty, Wiesel depicts the shy, sexually and politically naive, overly serious teenager who arrived in Paris in the late '40s. We read of his timid first kiss with Hanna, the beautiful young woman who proposed marriage to him; his more fervent first kiss with Kathleen, a Gentile who was engaged to another man. But when he meets his wife-to-be, Wiesel not unexpectedly falls silent about romance. Similarly, he alludes to a religious crisis but doesn't elaborate on the battle that must have raged inside him. Much of the volume relates the extraordinary people Wiesel has met, from Moshe the beadle, Sighet's first witness to Germany's Final Solution; to Joseph Givon, an adventurer who may or may not have been a double agent; to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, who challenged the author to a baffling drinking contest one holiday evening. Through it all Wiesel testifies vividly indeed to Jewish history: the birth of Israel, the Six-Day War, the capture of Jerusalem. And he ceaselessly pricks the conscience of a world that thinks it is possible to have heard "enough" about the Holocaust.

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-679-43916-1

Page Count: 480

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 25

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

UNTAMED

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 Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

INTO THE WILD

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

Did you like this book?

more