PAPER TRAIL

ESSAYS

Known primarily as a novelist (Working Men, 1993; Morning Girls, 1992; The Crown of Columbus with his wife, Louise Erdrich, 1991) and for The Broken Cord, which described his oldest son Abel's affliction with fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), Dorris here offers an array of previously published essays. Some are personal, about growing up and becoming a parent; some are polemical, concerning Native Americans and their history. However diverse the original audiences—the pieces appeared in the New York Times, Family Circle, TV Guide, and elsewhere—Dorris' engaging and incisive style holds them all together. Part Indian himself, raised by his war-widowed mother, grandmother, and aunt, and the adoptive single parent of three Indian children (before his marriage to Erdrich), Dorris brings a rare sensitivity and a unique point of view to such universal experiences as baking a cake for his son's nursery school party, traveling cross-country with his children, finding the ``great pie,'' and piercing his son's ear. The heavy observations begin with the adolescence of his children, all three of whom suffered from FAS (which he described for Newsweek and in a report for the Centers for Disease Control). He evokes the frustrations and resourcefulness of a parent whose children are prone to unpredictable, sometimes violent behavior. He recounts how Abel died after being struck by a motorist just as filming began for a TV movie of the The Broken Cord. Much of Paper Trail is about Native Americans and the stereotypes, realities, and cultural fictions that perpetuate their marginal status in America. Though all the essays are grounded in a sense of private history, Dorris does consider, more generally, questions about the nature and function of history. In such pieces, the novelist becomes a cultural commentator, learned, persuasive, overcoming guilt by issuing a call for responsibility. Collectively, the essays evoke the pathos, joy, and mystery of unaccountable suffering and unbearable loss, of spiritual triumph and enduring love, conveying universal experiences in a simple and touching language.

Pub Date: April 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-06-016971-0

Page Count: 384

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1994

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

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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