Though not groundbreaking, Blume’s reimagining of 1920s Paris and its scandalous denizens is vivid, spirited, and absorbing.

EVERYBODY BEHAVES BADLY

THE TRUE STORY BEHIND HEMINGWAY’S MASTERPIECE THE SUN ALSO RISES

The Lost Generation returns.

In 1925, desperately ambitious Ernest Hemingway found the subject for his first novel in the antics of the hard-drinking, bed-hopping companions who accompanied him to a bull-fighting festival in Pamplona, Spain. Working feverishly, and with malice, Hemingway immortalized the misbehaving bunch in The Sun Also Rises, the novel that made him a literary star, acclaimed for the “terse innovative prose” that seemed stunningly modern. Journalist Blume (Julia and the Art of Practical Travel, 2015, etc.) offers a brisk rendering of a familiar Lost Generation story featuring its most colorful protagonist: Hemingway comes to Paris with his young wife, Hadley, who loses his manuscript on a train. During that time, Hemingway met Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Ford Madox Ford, Robert McAlmon, and Harold Loeb, most of whom he came to despise. F. Scott Fitzgerald, already famous, encouraged Hemingway and connected him with Max Perkins at Scribner’s, who edited, published, and aggressively marketed The Sun Also Rises. Hemingway had an affair with the predatory Pauline Pfeiffer, which ended his marriage, and he defiantly created his image as a tough man, hunter, boxer, and predator. “Hemingway had a little bit of poison for everyone,” writes Blume, “and he was becoming quite adept at co-opting the lives and vulnerabilities of others as grist for his literary mill.” Of all those behaving badly, surely he was the worst, betraying his wife and many who mistakenly thought they were his friends. He wounded Sherwood Anderson by publishing a vicious parody of his work and responding to Anderson’s pain with a pretentious, patronizing letter. Hemingway, Anderson and Stein agreed, was an “ungrateful protégé.” Blume brings in some fresh material drawn from two interviews with Patrick Hemingway and with descendants of some Lost Generation figures, but most material comes from memoirs, biographies, and letters that have informed many other narratives.

Though not groundbreaking, Blume’s reimagining of 1920s Paris and its scandalous denizens is vivid, spirited, and absorbing.

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-27600-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Review Posted Online: March 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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