A heartbreaking memoir infused with dark humor and composed with true love.

SPOILER ALERT

THE HERO DIES: A MEMOIR OF LOVE, LOSS, AND OTHER FOUR-LETTER WORDS

A veteran entertainment journalist shares the bittersweet story of his relationship with his husband and his tragic death from cancer.

In 2001, Ausiello, founder of TVLine.com, met and instantly gelled with handsome Christopher “Kit” Cowan. A hilariously described “aggressive form of CPR” between the two men sealed the romantic deal, and they became inseparable. Both would endure the navigation of sexual and bodily insecurities and some peculiar quirks like Kit’s assortment of sex toys and the author’s penchant for wine and an ever blossoming Smurf collection. Rough interpersonal waters would lead to a mutual “soft breakup” and to couples therapy before their world would be spun upside down by an unforeseen scare. The tone of the memoir changes when Kit discovers an abnormality in his colon, which brought up the same cancer fears Ausiello experienced in his youth when his mother and father both passed away by the time he was 22. Kit was diagnosed with a rare aggressive neuroendocrine tumor, which carried a hopeful if precarious prognosis. Faced with the possibility of his time with Kit ending, the author proposed marriage, and Ausiello describes the event in tear-jerking details and blubbering adoration. He intersperses the narrative with anecdotes from their evolution as a couple, sweetened by love and affection yet easily bruised by infidelity, personal differences, and petty bickering. As chemotherapy took its toll on Kit and the prospect of remission dimmed, the author remained a strong, dedicated husband. Kit succumbed to the cancer just 11 months later, leaving Ausiello feeling like “a chunk of me had broken off and attached itself to Kit as he drifted away.” Though he was left to deal with the expansive void left in Kit’s wake, the memoir’s conclusion is leavened with hope, healing, and enduring devotion. Tender, profoundly poignant, and cleverly written with equal parts wit and integrity, the book is grounded in the realities of modern relationships and the grim fate of mortality.

A heartbreaking memoir infused with dark humor and composed with true love.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-3496-8

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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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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