Among academes devotees of Shakespeare and the rest of the literary quality, theres everyone else, and theres Harold Bloom. Other distinguished professors are busy mining the canons of their authors for statistical data, or trying to make biographical connections, or fitting works into the context of the vagaries of an era.
In the brief preface to A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (FSG, 2007), author Ishmael Beah relays the queries of his American high school friends as they try to solicit information about his past.
Siri Hustvedt is a scholar of many trades, and has written about psychoanalysis, neuroscience, philosophy, art, and literature. Shes the author of nine books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, including the international best-selling novel, What I Loved, about the friendship between an artist and art historian.
Glancing quickly and obliquely at the front cover, I got the initial impression of a vinyl record or, better yet, a compact discas if BERGVALL were the name of a band and MEDDLE ENGLISH were the name of an album.
When I was an 18-year-old kid learning about contemporary fiction, I would go to the indie journal section at Trident Books in Boston, and I would purchase copies of Open City. To me, it was one of the coolest journals in the universe, and it changed my writing forever.
Anyone who has ever regretted not asking their parents more about their lives or struggled with the psychological burden of being a child of a Holocaust survivor should read this book.
Take a poets life work and distill it into pure essenceit will look like When I Was a Poet by David Meltzer (City Lights Books). Having fully lived, the Beat legend stands at the abyss and peers down (and back).
Spanish author Felix J. Palma executes an extraordinary creative fusion with deft artistry in The Map of Time, a U.S. debut novel that reconstructs the ethos of Victorian London.
In earlier works Lynn Crawford focused on the leisure time of the leisure class. In her new book, Crawford complicates things by placing her chosen content in a comparative perspective, resetting the plots of earlier novels in modern days and dress, so that every alteration she makes illuminates a distinctive difference between eras.
Into our collective memory, one in which historians are geeky anachronisms stuck on learning from the past (horrors!), enter two books that attempt to tackle just what it means to remember and why it might be important to do so.
The men who form the Brothers of Godly Coercion School for Young Boys of Meager Means are grumpy, mean, funny, and delusionaryas though they walked out of a Monty Python skit. Such are the characters in Kevin Holohans debut novel, The Brothers Lot.