By Tess Lewis A new novel captures the atmosphere of post-1956 Hungary from a child’s point of view. The Swimmer by Zsuzsa Bank. Translated from the German by Margot Bettauer Dembo. (Harcourt Books) In tales of exile, the stories of those left behind are rarely told. This is hardly surprising because the abandoned, when they […]
Sci-fi master Samuel Delany’s latest novel is a mystery set in the ancient world. Phallos, by Samuel R. Delany. (Bamberger Books) By Vincent Czyz Samuel R. Delany is best known as “l’enfant terrible” who published his first novel at age 20 and then went on to win science fiction’s most prestigious awards — the Nebula […]
Stephen Greenblatt’s acclaimed biography of Shakespeare is filled with fascinating speculations.
Critic David Thomson says the movies have profoundly shaped America, and not always for the better. “The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood” by David Thomson. (Knopf) By Tim Riley The title of David Thomson’s provocative new history of film comes from a trenchant passage in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Last Tycoon”: “You can […]
One of Israel’s foremost prose writers has penned a masterful blend of autobiography and invention. A Tale of Love and Darkness: A Memoir, by Amos Oz. Translated from the Hebrew by Nicholas de Lange. (Harcourt) By Marsha Pomerantz In a memoir of 538 pages, it is hard to find a single image emblematic of the […]
Veteran British journalist Barry Miles pens the definitive biography of irreverent rocker Frank Zappa. Zappa by Barry Miles. Grove Press By Milo Miles Veteran British journalist and biographer Barry Miles, who has specialized in the Beatles and the Beats, treats Frank Zappa with the same corrosive irreverence the artist applied to every subject he discussed […]
This novel about an American radical of the ’60s who flees to Africa displays a cool grasp of the barbaric machinations of globalization.
Bob Dylan’s first installment of his memoirs invokes the bard of old with engaging prose and an old carny’s sleight of hand. “Chronicles, Volume I” By Bob Dylan. By Tim Riley Bob Dylan is one of rock’s great trapeze artists. His songwriting is the stuff of literary aerobics, but his performances could re-attach your spine […]
By Harvey Blume Nicholson Baker’s new novel is about a man obsessed with killing President Bush. Checkpoint: A Novel by Nicholson Baker. (Knopf) Nicholson Baker’s short, funny — and frequently tender — new novel consists of a conversation between Ben and Jay, high school buddies who haven’t seen each other in a few years, and […]
A.J. Liebling’s classic work of journalism about the fight game is back in print. The Sweet Science, by A.J. Liebling. (North Point Press). By Bill Marx In 2002, “Sports Illustrated” named “The Sweet Science” the “best American sports book of all time.” Since its author, A.J. Liebling would have turned 100 on October 18, 2004, […]