The Sea of Tranquility (Mare Tranquillitatis) is a lunar mare that sits in the Tranquillitatis basin on the moon. Its the first off-world place ever visited by human beings. On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left footprints there. Its also the location of the first moon colony in Emily St. John Mandels new novel.
It could be argued that Jennifer Egan, in 2010, took it upon herself to find a cure for what Zadie Smith once called our ailing literary culture.
The Great Indoorsman, published this month by University of Nebraska Press, is wry, absurdist, and absurdly amusing, with Farkas serving as a casual yet expert guide on a sublime tour of what he defines as the in-of-doors. Sure, theyre not lofty mountain peaks or oceans deep, but Farkas proves that dive bars and coffeehouses, dilapidated movie theaters and dying malls, waiting rooms and pool halls can reward our exploration all the same.
Because Levin is honest and self-interrogating, her desire for clarity yields more questions than answers. When human life seems predicated on exchanges of suffering, rigid definitions and reductive moralities must give way to something akin to possibility and mystery. Taken alone, her confident yet searching point of view compels. Combined with her attention to matters of sound and craft, the poems in Now make memorable music.
Zachary Lazars fictions take us to tense, elliptical spaces. Lazars new novel, The Apartment on Calle Uruguay, involves a poignant and pungent love affair between two exiles: Christopher Bell, a dark-skinned Jew from Israel and Ana Ramirez, an émigré from battle-worn Venezuela.
Diamonds and Deadlines is gloriously hard to describe. Ostensibly, it is a biography of the most influential woman youve never heard of, Miriam Leslie. However, the application of any particular moniker to Miriams remarkableand sometimes checkeredcareer is to overlook critical facets of her life.
For those interested in the private life of Marcel Duchamp, Ruth Brandons Spellbound by Marcel: Duchamp, Love and Art, might come as a welcomed contribution to the extant literature on the artist. Although we already knew something about this subjectthanks, in part, to the definitive biography on the artist by Calvin Tomkins (from which this book draws heavily)this is the first time an author has carefully read the unpublished diaries of Duchamps two closest friends during his early years in New York.