Cover image for Etchings in an hourglass
Etchings in an hourglass
Simon, Kate, 1912-1990.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Harper & Row, [1990]

Physical Description:
ix, 240 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
F128.9.J5 S58 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
F128.9.J5 S58 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The third and final volume of Simon's memoirs retains the captivating frankness of Bronx Primitive [BKL Ap 1 82] and A Wider World [BKL F 1 86], accounts of her childhood and adolescence. Here we read of Kate Simon the talented, persevering adult, finding an outlet for her omnivorous interest in the world in her career as a travel writer. Simon's personality was perfect for this strenuous undertaking; she was adventurous, curious, tolerant, flexible, and sensual, possessing an anchoring yet buoyant sense of self. Travel also helped her cope with a staggering string of tragedies--she lost a husband, her only child, and her younger sister to disease. Simon tells their stories as well as tales about her affairs, friendships, and other entanglements in Mexico, England, Italy, India, and New York. Written in the last years of her life--Simon died in February 1990--this book offers eloquent testimony of a bold, creative, and examined life, fully lived. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

In a third volume of memoirs, following Bronx Primitive and A Wider World , Simon, the author of distinguished travel and historical works, recounts her adult years and speculates on death--which claimed her recently. She brings to this wide-ranging excursus the same omnivorous interest, realism and passion, tempered by humor, that animated her recollections of her Bronx immigrant childhood and adolescence. In pungent, elegant prose, its flow unimpeded by a strict chronological mandate, Simon evokes lovers, friends and chance encounters in often exotic settings that surrounded a life enriched by a sense of adventure, splendid or bizarre. Bitter, premature losses of a sister, first husband and 22-year-old only daughter, along with a failed second marriage, took their toll. But these did not quench Simon's appetite for new experience. Photos not seen by PW. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In the third volume of her memoirs (the first two are Bronx Primitive, LJ 5/1/82, and A Wider World, LJ 2/15/86), travel writer Simon recalls the joys and sorrows of her adult life. Her first husband, only child, and younger sister all died of cancer at early ages. Her second marriage was a sterile, joyless affair ending in divorce. Yet, what dominates this book is not sorrow, but the author's unquenchable zest for life, her curiosity, adventurous spirit, and trenchant observations on people and places. In Russia, there was the guide who suspected Simon was a spy; in Haiti, a voodoo ceremony; in Paris, wordless encounters with Sartre on the stairs. These are well-wrought portraits from a life well lived. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/90.-- Andrea Caron Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, Kan. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.