The best among these essays should bring Carrère new readers.

97,196 WORDS


A collection of essays by one of France’s most acclaimed nonfiction authors.

Originally published in France in 2016, these pieces, published between 1990 and 2017, encapsulate novelist and filmmaker Carrère’s (The Kingdom, 2018, etc.) career as a journalist who places himself in his writing and subject matter. In the first piece, the author, then a fledgling crime reporter, recounts the trials of three murderers. Then he explores the life of Dr. Jean-Claude Romand, another murderer who “wasn’t even a doctor” and whose “duplicity” lasted for 18 years. In another essay on Romand, the impostor, Carrère writes that he hopes to “emulate” Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood in a book that would recount Romand’s “life from the outside,” noting that the “presence of the observer invariably modifies the observed phenomenon.” He fulfilled that hope in The Adversary (2000). Many of these essays are shorter versions of books Carrère eventually wrote, from a profile of the young, anti-Putin dissident Eduard Limonov to one on a catastrophic tsunami in Sri Lanka. Carrère is always a questioner, probing as he ponders and tries to honestly assess what he sees, hears, and experiences about other people’s lives. He is especially candid in “How I Completely Botched My Interview with Catherine Deneuve,” and he offers an insightful profile of Emmanuel Macron, with whom he was impressed: “When it’s not Hegel he’s quoting, it’s Spinoza.” There is also a piece on the stories of Phillip K. Dick and a brief assessment of an H.P. Lovecraft story full of “Lovecraft’s trademark—fear.” In “Four Days in Davos,” Carrère writes that he “wants to laugh aloud at the endless stream of infatuated, overbilled [economic] statements.” The best piece is the emotional “Letter to a Woman of Calais,” about the plight of migrants, mostly Syrian, in the city by the Chunnel. Their camp, the “Jungle,” is “a nightmare of misery and filth.”

The best among these essays should bring Carrère new readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-17820-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019

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



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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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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