Thursday New Books
From my all-time favorite writer!
A New York Review Books Original
Winner of the 2009 Bernard Shaw Prize for Translation
Two women, both artists, no longer young, live and work on opposite sides of a large apartment building, their studios connected by an attic passageway. They have loved and argued for decades, long enough to anticipate the other's next words and to guess her next move. Yet no matter how many times they've played the game, it is always capable of surprising them.
Tove Jansson tells the women's story in a series of brief, spare episodes, which bear the fitness of parable and the nuance of portraiture. We see the two as they watch Fassbinder films and B Westerns, critique each other's works in progress, spend time on a solitary island (recognizable to readers of Jansson's The Summer Book), and travel through the American Southwest. The type of love story that is rarely told, Fair Play is a revelatory depiction of contentment, hard-won and exhilarating.
I hate how I downplay my excitement over some things because other people don't get it (and, no, DAW, I'm not talking about you) but I did just that when I showed this book to a coworker, who was basically "meh" about it:
The unique life story of one of the most talented and inventive comedians, star of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Star Trek.
Zombies in North London, death cults in the West Country, the engineering deck of the Enterprise: actor, comedian, writer and self-proclaimed supergeek Simon Pegg has been ploughing some bizarre furrows in recent times. Having landed on the U.S. movie scene in the surprise cult hit Shaun of the Dead, his enduring appeal and rise to movie star with a dedicated following has been mercurial, meteoric, megatronic, but mostly just plain great.
From his childhood (and subsequently adult) obsession with science fiction, his enduring friendship with Nick Frost, and his forays into stand-up comedy which began with his regular Monday morning slot in front of his twelve-year-old classmates, Simon has always had a severe and dangerous case of the funnies.
Whether recounting his experience working as a lifeguard at the city pool, going to Comic-Con for the first time and confessing to Carrie Fisher that he used to kiss her picture every night before he went to sleep, or meeting and working with heroes that include Peter Jackson, Kevin Smith, and Quentin Tarantino, Pegg offers a hilarious look at the journey to becoming an international superstar, dotted with a cast of memorable characters, and you're rooting for him all the way.
From the writer who coined the phrase "Steampunk"...
Just what happened when the Time Machine returned?
At the end of Wells' classic tale, the traveller returned to the far future in search of his Eloi love. Having acquired his device for themselves, the brutish Morlocks have come back to Victorian England to feed upon docile humanity. But in the hour of England's greatest need, the legends say, its greatest heroes will also return, to fight against its total destruction.
Then she opened her mouth to scream—and recognised me. It was what I’d been waiting for. She froze. She looked into my eyes. She said, “It’s you.”
Meet Jake. A bit on the elderly side (he turns 201 in March), but you’d never suspect it. Nonstop sex and exercise will do that for you—and a diet with lots of animal protein. Jake is a werewolf, and after the unfortunate and violent death of his one contemporary, he is now the last of his species. Although he is physically healthy, Jake is deeply distraught and lonely.
Jake’s depression has carried him to the point where he is actually contemplating suicide—even if it means terminating a legend thousands of years old. It would seem to be easy enough for him to end everything. But for very different reasons there are two dangerous groups pursuing him who will stop at nothing to keep him alive.
Here is a powerful, definitive new version of the werewolf legend—mesmerising and incredibly sexy. In Jake, Glen Duncan has given us a werewolf for the twenty-first century—a man whose deeds can only be described as monstrous but who is in some magical way deeply human.
One of the most original, audacious, and terrifying novels in years.
From the musician who brought us The Curse...
Josh Ritter’s first novel is a wondrous, suspenseful, and uniquely affecting story of the journey taken by a father and his infant son.
Henry Bright is newly returned to West Virginia from the battlefields of the First World War. Grief struck by the death of his young wife and unsure of how to care for the infant son she left behind, Bright is soon confronted by the destruction of the only home he’s ever known. His only hope for safety is the angel who has followed him to Appalachia from the trenches of France and who now promises to protect him and his son.
Together, Bright and his newborn, along with a cantankerous goat and the angel guiding them, make their way through a landscape ravaged by forest fire toward an uncertain salvation, haunted by the abiding nightmare of his experiences in the war and shadowed by his dead wife’s father, the Colonel, and his two brutal sons.
At times harrowing, at times funny, and always possessed by the sheer gorgeousness and unique imagination that have made Josh Ritter’s songs beloved to so many, this is the debut of a virtuoso fiction writer.