by Toni Morrison |
REVIEWED BY MEREDITH MARAN
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988 and the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, Toni Morrison is renowned for sweeping historical epics like The Bluest Eye and for indelible characters like escaped slave Sethe in Beloved. In this slim, scathing novel, her first since she unearthed slavery's roots in A Mercy (2008), Morrison brings us another quintessentially American character struggling through another shameful moment in our nation's history. Frank Money, an African-American Korean War soldier, returns to the U.S. to find the nation's racial wounds, and his own, deepened by conflicts both personal and political. After escaping the mental hospital in which he's been incarcerated following a breakdown we'd now recognize as war-related PTSD, Money embarks on a classic hero's journey: to find his younger sister, who's being medically abused by doctors mistreating her for female troubles. At half the length of most of her previous works, Home is as much prose poem as long-form fiction-a triumph for a beloved literary icon who, at 81, proves that her talents remain in full flower.
A tale of one man's search for redemption during a dark moment in American history
To the Last Breath
by Francis Slakey |
REVIEWED BY ANDREW ABRAHAMS
As a determinedly single, emotionally detached 37- year-old, Georgetown University physics professor Slakey drew up a formidable bucket list: He wanted to scale the highest mountain on each continent and surf every ocean. Fifteen years later he's written a dramatic account of summiting Everest, getting ambushed in Indonesia and enduring isolation and spiritual deprivation in Antarctica. He completes his list, but more importantly, he rediscovers his humanity with the help of fellow Everest trekker Gina Eppolito, now his wife. Breath is a moving tale of self-discovery, right to the last word.
The Uninvited Guests
by Sadie Jones |
REVIEWED BY ELLEN SHAPIRO
The opening pages read like an episode of Downton Abbey: a remote manor house in Edwardian England, lavish party preparations with the promise of shimmering gowns and romantic intrigue. But Jones has something more uncanny in mind, and when the party is interrupted by survivors of a nearby train wreck, the comedy of manners turns downright surreal. Though the genre-mixing is disconcerting, Jones's effervescent writing keeps the course steady-even as her characters shed their civilized veneers.
In One Person
by John Irving |
REVIEWED BY HELEN ROGAN
In this sprawling, ambitious novel, Irving details the life and loves of a bisexual named Billy Abbott, from his prep-school boyhood to his adulthood in the age of AIDS. The terrain will be familiar to Irving fans-the book features New England eccentrics, wrestling, an absent father, explicit sex of various kinds-but there's a fresh, heartfelt urgency to Billy's plea for tolerance: "Please don't put a label on me-don't make me a category before you know me."
MY EXTRAORDINARY LIFE
by Sissy Spacek
The Oscar winner's first book covers love (she's been married 38 years), loss (her brother died at 19) and defining roles.
THE PASSAGE OF POWER
by Robert A. Caro
The fourth volume of Pulitzer Prize winner Caro's biography of the 36th President. One for history buffs.
by Frank Langella
Threesomes and trysts, oh my! Though mum on rumored love Jackie O., the actor delivers a kiss- and-tell that'll make you blush.
"I had a good one. We had to fill in the blank: 'Five years from now I will be ... ', and mine was ... 'very, very fat.' 'Cause I figured if I'm not, then it's like,'You're not!' And if I am, I'm like, 'I know-I called it!'"
"It was something heavily influenced by Dead Poets Society, the gist of which was carpe diem. Today I might be a little less pretentious."
"It was awful: 'Once is not enough' [the title of a racy Jacqueline Susann novel]. It's so embarrassing-I can't believe I told you. And I thought it was so clever."
"Pushkin: 'Upon the brink of the wild stream, he stood and dreamt a mighty dream.' Beautiful quote. But I wasn't into high school. I had a really aggressive Versace book-bag, and nobody liked me."
The rock legend shares memories of his brother Duane and his own brief marriage to Cher.
WHY WRITE A MEMOIR?
One day it hit me: I've had a wonderful life. I could relive the great days.
WAS IT HARD RELIVING DUANE'S 1971 DEATH?
Yes, but I also remembered growing up with my big bro, who got to smack the hell out of little bro. Then we came together over the love of six silver strings. It was a pleasure writing about him.
WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO CHER?
What's not to be attracted to? I got giddy and felt like a high school kid.
WHY DIDN'T THE MARRIAGE WORK?
Fame didn't help. You go to the store and see your face on 16 magazines, and that got old. I'd try to escape and get high.
ARE YOU STILL IN TOUCH?
It's not like we're neighbors talking over the back fence, but we talk. My time with her is still a fond memory.