The novel that birthed a "machine of condemnation"
Thomas Hardy by William Strang.
Thomas Hardy always imagined that he would be better known for his poems than his novels, which he grudgingly wrote, he said, simply to pay the bills. The facts were otherwise. He lived a long life, dying in 1928 at the age of 87, but had given up on writing those novels fully 33 years before—which did nothing to diminish either his reputation or the speculations on the parts of the contemporary press as to just when he would break ...
H.W. Brands photographed by Marsha Miller
It’s easy, if you’re politically so inclined, to dismiss Ronald Reagan as a mere actor who bumbled his way onto the film set called the presidency, an intellectual lightweight in a White House full of geniuses, a political naïf in a hardball world.
It would be easy. It would also be wrong.
So says H.W. Brands, the eminent student of American history who, when not teaching at the University of Texas, has been busy writing weighty tomes each one ...
Our survey of books first published overseas that are making their way to America
Susan Barker photographed by Derek Anson.
U.K.: July 3, 2014 | Doubleday
U.S.: Aug. 18, 2015 | Touchstone
Wang Jun ekes out a living in gruelling 12-hour shifts as a taxi driver in dusty, polluted, crowded Beijing. His mundane life with his pretty masseuse wife and their adored daughter, Echo, in Apartment 404 is thrown into disarray by a series of letters from the mysterious Watcher, who claims to have known him in five previous lives. Wang’s past incarnations take the reader on ...
Margo Rabb photographed by Jackie Rabb
When Margo Rabb’s father died within days of the 1998 Swiss Air crash, the two events became inextricably linked for her. “I just kept imagining what it would be like to have lost someone in that way in such a public way,” she says. In Rabb’s new novel Kissing in America, she explores just that question. The narrator Eva’s dad died in a plane crash, but, in an inversion of Rabb’s own experience, she tells people it was a heart attack.
Even aside from that concordance, Kissing feels like a ...
A few words you won't find in our children's book reviews
Is this book "relatable"? Not everyone has a sibling.
Call me schoolmarm, call me bluestocking, call me dinosaur if you like. You can certainly call me a grammar fascist: I know what kind of written English I like, and by golly, I demand it. People who think about these things draw a distinction between prescriptive usage and descriptive usage, and I definitely place myself on the prescriptive end of this scale. But as an editor and sometime teacher, I daily find myself striking out the same words over and ...
David Gates photographed by Mary McCormick
David Gates is many things. He’s a former journalist for Newsweek. A musician playing in three bands. A teacher in the University of Montana’s MFA program. He’s a writer, of course, and lately he’s been a writer wondering if he’s past his prime.
This is a trend for characters in his new book—his first in 16 years—A Hand Reached Down To Guide Me, a moving and nuanced collection of stories and one novella filled with aging artists, parents ...
Authors of WAR OF THE ENCYLCOPAEDISTS
Christopher Robinson & Gavin Kovite
If you didn’t know better, you’d assume that Christopher Robinson and Gavin Kovite were brothers by the way they talk together.
Even speaking from two different locations for a conference call interview, they find a natural rhythm together, they finish each other’s thoughts, and they are quick to laugh. It’s the sort of chemistry that shows itself in the pages of their first novel, War of the Encyclopaedists, which they wrote together over the span of five years. ...
Margaret Lazarus Dean photographed by Christopher Hebert
Whether you’ve dreamed of donning a bright white suit for a zero-gravity spin, or simply stayed tuned to a shuttle launch on TV, Margaret Lazarus Dean will reignite your enthusiasm for American spaceflight.
“... I want to write about those places where the technical and the emotional intersect—like the smell of space, or the schoolchildren watching Challenger explode with a teacher aboard, or an adult woman hiding her tears in the cathedralic heights of [NASA’s] Vehicle Assembly Building, or a ...