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Mary Shelley by Miranda Seymour
It was with a high heart that I set out to begin my planned survey of the science-fiction scene by reading Greg Bear's Darwin's Radio. Bear can write, something a lot of science fiction types don't do very well. He is not a stylist in the way of fantasy novelist Ray Bradbury (and thank God for...
The Informers by Juan Gabriel Vasquez
The endless paeans to good American behavior in World War II hide the brutal but obvious reality that war rarely brings out the best in people. Juan Gabriel Vasquez's Informers (Riverhead, $25.95) shows the devastating effects of that war on a single family in Colombia, a country seemingly at a...
The Room and the Chair by Lorraine Adams
One such person who, for no particular reason, love the history and music of language, is the novelist Lorraine Adams, whose The Room and the Chair (Knopf, $25.95) is packed with the kinds of verbal flourishes that will send the editors of the OED scrambling to update their database. What, for...
Londongrad by Reggie Nadelson
On a warm summer's day, cold is too depressing to think about -- which, Reggie Nadelson suggests in Londongrad (Walker & Company, $25), is what bad weather has in common with Russia, that vast, shambolic empire of thawing permafrost, radioactive sushi, and sleazy "businessmen" of the kind whose...
The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke by Timothy Snyder
Not long ago, Ukrainians polled on behalf of a television show were asked to identify "The Greatest Ukrainian." Lenin, whose likeness once disfigured every Soviet-bloc square or railway station, finished in twenty-third place, behind Nikolai Gogol, author of Dead Souls. Perhaps inevitably, a row...
Mr. Peanut by Adam Ross
Her plight was dire; so, too, are the lives in Adam Ross's first novel, Mr. Peanut (Knopf, $25.95). "No matter what they did, David thought, no matter how hard they tried, they'd always come back to this place of disappointment," Ross writes, and this place -- where one can carefully nurture...
The Microscripts by Robert Walser
The magnificently humble. The enormously small. The meaningfully ridiculous. Robert Walser's work often reads like a dazzling answer to the question, How immense can modesty be? If Emily Dickinson made cathedrals of em dashes and capital letters and the angle of winter light, Walser accomplishes...
History of Beauty by Umberto Eco
Beauty is a mess, a sinkhole, a trap. Approach it philosophically and you're immediately bogged down in questions of idealism, empiricism, subjectivity, and objectivity. Plato began the conversation, Kant tried to finish it, and Santayana, embracing Plato and Kant, tried to encapsulate it. Take...
Homesick (Hebrew Literature) by Eshkol Nevo
"A Life based on survival as opposed to love was perhaps desirable," David Peplin speculates, a line that could almost serve as an epigraph for another novel of fraught coexistences, Homesick (Dalkey Archive, $15.95), by the young Israeli writer Eshkol Nevo. Castel, a crummy hilltop village...
Muriel Spark: The Biography by Martin Stannard
"To make a character ring true it needs must be in some way contradictory, somewhere a paradox," says Muriel Spark's writer-heroine Fleur Talbot in Loitering with Intent. Contemplator of God, party-going sybarite; unpretentious working girl, resplendent queen bee; generous friend, vengeful harpy...
2000 Years of Mayan Literature by Dennis Tedlock
Farber on Film: The Complete Film Writings of Manny Farber by Many Farber
Another Science Fiction: Advertising the Space Race 1957-1962 by Megan Prelinger
The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century by Alan Brinkley
Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt
Twilight of the Superheroes: Stories by Deborah Eisenberg
Koestler: The Literary and Political Odyssey of a Twentieth-Century Skeptic by Michael Scammell
Cold: Adventures in the World's Frozen Places by Bill Streever
Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black by Nadine Gordimer
It's Our Turn to Eat: The Story of a Kenyan Whistle-Blower by Michela Wrong
Spring, Heat, Rains: A South Indian Diary by David Dean Shulman
Occupied City by David Peace
Armenian Golgotha: A Memoir of the Armenian Genocide, 1915-1918 (Vintage) by Grigoris Balakian
Knut Hamsun: Dreamer & Dissenter by Ingar Sletten Kolloen
Fanon by John Edgar Wideman
Alien Hearts (New York Review Books Classics) by Guy De Maupassant
Letters of Ted Hughes by Ted Hughes
The Myths of Liberal Zionism by Yitzhak Laor
The Emergence of Memory: Conversations with W. G. Sebald by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Words in Air: The Complete Correspondence between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell by Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell
Cheever: A Life (Vintage) by Blake Bailey
The Third Reich at War: 1939-1945 by Richard J. Evans
For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus by Frederick Brown
Notebooks from New Guinea: Field Notes of a Tropical Biologist by Vojtech Novotny
City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s by Edmund White
The Collected Stories by Leonard Michaels
A Common Pornography Signed Edition by Kevin Sampsell
John Zorn: Tradition and Transgression by John Brackett
God's Crucible: Islam and the Making of Europe, 570-1215 by David Levering Lewis
Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns
Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression by Morris Dickstein
Everything Is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard by Richard Brody
Something to Tell You by Hanif Kureishi
Aesop's Mirror: A Love Story by Maryalice Huggins
Amigoland by Oscar Casares
Bite the Hand That Feeds You: Essays and Provocations by Henry Fairlie
The Complete Stories of J. G. Ballard by J. G. Ballard
A Mercy (Vintage International) by Toni Morrison
Mad, Bad, and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors by Lisa Appignanesi
Why Poetry Matters by Jay Parini
2666 by Roberto Bolano
Beijing Coma by Ma Jian
Woman of Rome: A Life of Elsa Morante by Lily Tuck
Camus, A Romance by Elizabeth Hawes
Backstory in Blue: Ellington at Newport '56 by John Fass Morton
My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampike (P.S.) by Joyce Carol Oates
The Forever War (Vintage) by Dexter Filkins
The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War by Alexander Waugh
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Season of Migration to the North by Tayeb Salih
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