Thursday, May 29, 2008

Kelts on Keene

I was honored to be asked to review Donald Keene's elegant and resolutely humble memoir, Chronicles of My Life, just out from Columbia University (my grad school alma mater) Press. Simply put, Keene led the way in explaining Japan and its rich culture to Americans, and his life's doings remind me of Elias Canetti's aside:
"I try to imagine someone telling Shakespeare: 'Relax!'"

And as Susan Sontag wrote of Canetti himself: "The message of the mind's passion is passion."

My brief review is out in the new summer issue of Bookforum--and online here.

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