An entertaining and thoughtful book about a remarkable life that consistently embraced transformation.

NONBINARY

A MEMOIR

A posthumous memoir from the multimedia artist, a "transgender icon” who transcended more than mere gender categories.

P-Orridge, who died from leukemia in 2020, was born Neil Andrew Megson in Manchester, England, in 1950. Considering their birth name a "temporary tag," P-Orridge believed that a name change was "a really potent form of magic.” Their overriding goal in a lifetime of art- and music-making was to "short-circuit control," a directive given to them by William Burroughs. The author’s early years in British schools, where they suffered from verbal and physical abuse from classmates and authority figures alike, "taught me who my enemy was." Their early experiments in performance art and street theater set the tone for their career: “Does anything have to exist just because it did before?...Who does it serve?” Throbbing Gristle, the seminal industrial band P-Orridge co-founded, used "the tools and the toys of the military-industrial complex" as musical instruments to subvert “their original intent, which was, of course, control.” Confounding expectations, the author’s next band, Psychic TV, aimed to “seduce the audience rather than alienate them.” Using esoteric rituals, fetish objects, sacred figures, and shamanic tools, their music conjured spiritual states and aimed to "make the occult trendy again.” For another conceptual art project, P-Orridge served as one half—with dominatrix and partner Lady Jaye Breyer—of a "pandrogyne" fusing male and female beings into a "third being,” a further breakdown of the binary model. They erased differences between them with body modifications and medical techniques, applying cut-up methods to "our problematic bodies.” They considered this project the "egalitarian integration of two artist explorers, this third being Breyer P-Orridge," a proposed "end of either/or" that is "essential to the survival of the species." As much a manifesto as a memoir, this wild life story is dedicated to the breakdown of categories: "End gender. Break sex. Destroy the control of DNA and the expected. Every man and woman is a man and woman.”

An entertaining and thoughtful book about a remarkable life that consistently embraced transformation.

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-4386-3

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 16

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more