April 22, 2011 A year before Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique made way for a change in how women viewed their lives, The Pumpkin Eater gave a searing glimpse of unhappy married domesticity. Wickedly funny, it said many things that women were told to keep quiet about in that era.
April 11, 2011 In an ancient Greek tale, Clytemnestra kills her husband, Agamemnon, after he sacrifices their daughter, Iphigenia. New Yorker journalist Janet Malcolm spots parallels in a case from a Forest Hills, N.Y., courtroom. Her telling of the case shakes and disturbs you like the smartest nonfiction can.
March 29, 2011 Marjorie Garber says books are labeled as dangerous "precisely because [they] can enrich the mind, challenge, disturb, and change one's thinking." In her new book, she traces the historical tendency to label new literary phenomena as 'trash', only to later see it become a revered classic.
Dezso Kosztolanyi was born in Austria-Hungary in 1885 and began publishing his novels, short stories and poetry at the age of 23. He also translated poetry from Chinese, Japanese and other languages into Hungarian.
February 24, 2011 Kornel Esti, by the late Hungarian author Dezso Kosztolanyi, tells the story of a man's epic life in the words of his doppelganger — from night train rides through Bulgaria to Central Europe ravaged by World War II.
January 20, 2011 A writer's chance encounter with Vyacheslav Molotov's personal library leads to an encompassing, poetic and creative portrait of Russia's history and present.
November 16, 2010 During the Nuremberg trials, a collection of key witnesses — including former Nazis and resistance fighters — lived together in a single house. In The Witness House, Christiane Kohl turns a potentially melodramatic historical moment into a moving and suspenseful portrait of reconciliation.
November 5, 2010 Erika Lopez's The Girl Must Die: A Monster Girl Memoir is a rallying cry for the gritty, guitar- and gun-slinging women who disappeared after the 1990s. It comes 12 years after her raucous, racy and hilarious breakthrough novel Flaming Iguanas.
September 23, 2010 Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's elegant style is out of date — but not out of touch. In The Woman with the Bouquet, the French writer's sparse, anachronistic explorations of love create a passionate, timeless collection that will make readers wonder "what if ...?"
September 10, 2010 Parisian writer Jean-Christophe Valtat's latest novel is set in a fictional early 20th-century Arctic Circle city that's been taken over by a menacing council. Valtat's knowledge of North Pole mythology shines through.
August 10, 2010 Japanese novelist Shuichi Yoshida straddles the boundary between the pre- and post-Internet world, and his latest book is a crime thriller challenging assumptions about real and virtual identities. Villain contrasts Japan's welcoming embrace of the wired world with its strong roots in tradition.
July 23, 2010 First published in 1964 as La violence et la derision, Albert Cossery's The Jokers is light in tone. But underlying its ridiculous set-up and playful nature are dissent and rage — a railing against the idea of an intractable political fate. The Jokers is Cossery's sixth book to be translated from French to English.
June 2, 2010 Alasdair Gray's latest novel is a hodgepodge of older material — reworked from newspaper articles, discarded stories and plays. It swings widely through time and space to portray the vulnerabilities of men in power, yet it ultimately holds together as funny, profane, cohesive fiction.
May 26, 2010 Jessa Crispin reviews Hilary Thayer Hamann's debut novel, Anthropology of an American Girl, which Hamann self-published in 2003. Now out in a new edition from a major publisher, the novel retains much of its unedited bloat, but also an amateurish charm.
April 27, 2010 Maggie O'Farrell's novel The Hand That First Held Mine is split between two main characters: an art critic and reporter trying to make her way in the man's world of 1960s London and a contemporary artist who wants desperately to remember life before the traumatic birth of her first child.
March 24, 2010 Marion Meade chronicles the life and times of little-known author Nathanael West and his wife, Eileen McKenney. West was the author of the novels Miss Lonelyhearts and The Day of the Locust.
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