Dreadful: The Short Life And Gay Times Of John Horne Burns by David Margolick. (Other Press) Burns, the closeted son of a wealthy New England family, rose to fame in 1947 with “The Gallery,” a World War II novel notable for its frank portrayal of gay soldiers in occupied Naples. But he squandered his early promise, succumbed to drink and depression, and was dead six years later at 36. Margolick reconstructs Burns’ largely forgotten story, evoking the glamorous but often dark underbelly of America’s postwar literary scene.
How To Be A Good Wife by Emma Chapman. (Picador) Chapman’s unnerving first novel revolves around a stark mystery: Is her Scandinavian heroine, Marta, going crazy, suffering a deepening dislocation from the world around her? Or does it merely benefit Marta’s husband for her to think she is?
American Mirror: The Life And Art Of Norman Rockwell by Deborah Solomon. (Picador) Freckle-faced Boy Scouts, sprightly grandmothers, blushing brides – as the star illustrator of The Saturday Evening Post for nearly half a century, Rockwell (1894-1978) created images that reside in collective memory, his very name a byword for sentimental Americana. Solomon’s insightful biography explores the relationship between Rockwell’s anguished creativity and his genius for reflecting American innocence.
The Man Of Feeling by Javier Marías. Translated by Margaret Jull Costa. (Vintage International) Moving back and forth in time, Marías’ protagonist, a Spanish opera singer, recounts his “friendship” with the alluring wife of a powerful Brussels banker. Marías interweaves desire and memory in a kind of fractured dream logic, presenting the novel as “a love story in which love is neither seen nor experienced, but announced and remembered.”
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The Map And The Territory 2.0: Risk, Human Nature, And The Future Of Forecasting by Alan Greenspan. (Penguin) Laying out his worldview in light of the financial crisis, the deep recession and the meager recovery of the past few years, the former Federal Reserve chairman makes a compelling case for what we can and can’t know about economic decision making. From monetary policy to inequality and globalization, Greenspan “offers readers a thoughtful, nuanced and open-minded perspective,” N. Gregory Mankiw wrote in The Times Book Review.
Dust by Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor. (Vintage) Owuor’s lyrical debut frames Kenya’s violent past through the experience of one fragile family. After a young man is killed on the streets of Nairobi, his father and sister take his body back to their crumbling home in the drylands, unlocking a host of troubling memories. “In this dazzling novel you will find the entirety of human experience,” Taiye Selasi said in the Book Review.
The Discovery Of Middle Earth: Mapping The Lost World Of The Celts by Graham Robb. (Norton) In this engaging travelogue and treasure hunt, Robb asserts that 2,000 years before anyone could even measure longitude, the druids – the scholar-priests of the ancient Celts – had mapped Western Europe with accurate lines based on the sun’s movements.
New York Times