An exquisitely observed tale of friendship, jealousy, betrayal and loss—each electrified by a palpable current of lust. Told in four distinct narrative styles, this is a portrait in silhouette of a darkly charismatic poet and land surveyor from the sweaty, rural South. The writing is exceptional—Gander has a pitch-perfect lyric feel for evoking landscapes and unlocking human psychology with a distilled, potent image. As A Friend is a dark jewel of a book, to be read and re-read, by one of our country's most skilled writers.
Last Words from Montmarte is a slow burn, unfolding over a series of letters through which the narrator processes her grief after a traumatic breakup. The fragments of her memory function both as a weapon and a prism of clarity, ultimately allowing her to transcend her suffering. The result is a shockingly cathartic depiction of depression and a timeless portrait of the artist.
It's all here! The objects of our lives in the settings where we find them, presented by a lively and animated assortment of dogs. With a nod to her inspiration, Richard Scarry, the author presents enough detail to keep any young child absorbed and delighted for hours on end.
No better $35 can be spent for a book in this country than this collection of James Baldwin's collected non-fiction - what were published as five books, from Notes of a Native Son through The Devil Finds Work, with a selection of essays not previously collected included. Timely in their day, this writing feels prophetically and astoundingly true to today, soaring, seeing, telling what needs to be seen and told. This, thirty years after James Baldwin's passing. His fiction, published in two accompanying Library of America volumes, to be read and known, too. A great gift to give to another - or to yourself.
Kate Tempest is like a modern Homer or Virgil. She carries on the oral tradition of poetry. Like her previous poem Brand New Ancients, Let Them Eat Chaos begs to—and should—be read aloud. A favorite of mine.
Emily Wilson’s translation fully embraces the ambiguous nature of cunning Odysseus while her precise language elucidates his journey. She makes The Odyssey a joy to read aloud, and the iambic pentameter flows as if it is music meant for the words rather than the words conforming to fit an arbitrary meter. This is not your fusty Odyssey: it’s a radical new one that also serves the original intent better than anything you’ve read before. Bonus: check out the New York Times interview with her for a fascinating look into how she worked on the text.