Orson Welles’s Last Movie: The Making Of “The Other Side Of The Wind” by Josh Karp. (St. Martin’s Griffin) After years of self-imposed exile, Welles returned to the United States hoping to complete his grandest film yet: a tale of an aging movie director who kills himself on the anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s suicide. (Welles maintained it was not autobiographical.) The unfinished film remains largely unseen, and Karp delves into the various factors that blocked the project’s completion, including the Iranian revolution and Liechtenstein-based companies.
The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. (Riverhead) Rachel, the divorced, unemployed, alcoholic and unstable heroine of this novel, has developed a fixation on a couple whose house she passes every day during her train ride into town. But when the woman goes missing, Rachel involves herself in the investigation, and turns out to have surprising connections to the crime.
God And Jetfire: Confessions Of A Birth Mother by Amy Seek. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) After an unplanned pregnancy, Seek chose to give her baby up for adoption. As part of her arrangement, Seek and the adoptive parents maintained a relationship throughout the child’s life. The author reflects in this memoir on the excruciating grief of parting with a child and surrendering her role as a mother.
The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan. (Picador) The stories of Anne, an aging and once-renowned photographer, and her grandson, Luke, who traveled on an Afghan humanitarian mission, make up this novel. After Luke returns home to the United Kingdom, struggling to recover from his time overseas, spending time with his grandmother and uncovering a cache of her memories gives him comfort. “The Illuminations” is “both a howl against the war in Afghanistan and the societies that have blindly abetted it,” Dani Shapiro said in a New York Times review.
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The Making Of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee. (Simon & Schuster) An impressive survey of life in the United States for Asians who sought to make their homes here. Lee’s account spans some of the most ignominious episodes in the country’s past, including legislation that barred Asian immigrants from entry, and shows how Asian-Americans, now the fastest-growing group in the United States, have shaped America.
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh. (Penguin) In 1960s New England, Eileen plots an escape from a world largely dictated by men around her. Moshfegh skillfully explores “a woman’s relationship to her body: the disconnection, the cultural claims, the male prerogative,” Times reviewer Lily King said.
A Higher Form Of Killing: Six Weeks In World War I That Forever Changed The Nature Of Warfare by Diana Preston. (Bloomsbury) Preston traces the rise of a new class of weapons to this period in 1915, when the Germans launched a merciless assault on the Allies, gassing the Canadians and French, sinking the Lusitania, and bombing London.
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