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If you were a fan of Glen Duncan's The Last Werewolf, then you're in for a treat with his new companion novel, Talulla Rising.
Duncan left readers with slain Jake's lover, Talulla, pregnant and on
the run at the end of his first book and now we begin her story. Without
the man she loves and an uncertain future—one fraught with dangers she
hasn't even begun to understand—Talulla must protect herself and her
baby at all costs, for their fates will determine whether werewolves
were ever meant to exist in the world.
- Angela Maria Williams
Alan Clay, the hero of Dave Eggers’ sad, funny, and very moving novel, is a 54 year old corporate survivor on a mission to Saudi Arabia to make a pitch to King Abdullah in order to secure a contract to provide the IT for the under-construction King Abdullah Economic City. As each day goes by and the king fails to appear, Alan and his team languish in their seaside tent waiting. A Hologram for the King (McSweeney’s, $25) is a character-driven story of a man in crisis, deeply in debt and unable to pay his daughter’s college tuition. It’s also a serious meditation on the decline of American power, economic and political. It’s a thought-provoking novel but also a hugely entertaining one. It’s already received a well-deserved New York Times rave review and promises to be one of the most talked about books of the summer.
We have a limited number of signed first editions.
- Mark LaFramboise
GEORGE BELLOWS AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART
The exhibit: through October 8.
The catalog: George Bellows (National Gallery of Art/Prestel, $60)
As you walk from room to room in the George Bellows retrospective at the National Gallery, you experience the many worlds that Bellows depicted (beyond his famous boxing paintings), all done with some of the most virtuoso brushwork in American art. Bellows’s brushstrokes anticipated the free-form vibrancy of de Kooning, but he combined it with observation skills and visual reportage worthy of Daumier and Goya.
You will see Bellows work that you’ve never seen: leisurely promenaders in winter; tenement kids playing; tender portraits of his wife and daughters; roiling seascapes; and powerful anti-war and anti-lynching prints. His paintings of the Pennsylvania Station excavations have the haunted look of the World Trade Center site. Look closely again at his confident pencil and brush-marks. Bellows died young at age forty-two.
The catalog has twelve prominent essays by curators and historians, each of whom address one of Bellows’s subjects: boxing, working, tenement life, political illustrations, “War, 1918,” “life of leisure,” “life by the river,” “life at sea.” There is a visual diary, as well as 270 illustrations.
- András Goldinger
Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape (Thames & Hudson, $60), edited by Marko Daniel and Matthew Gale
There is a fantastic Miró retrospective at the National Gallery of Art through August 12. Titled Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape, it covers the entirety of the artist’s career—from his folk-inspired Catalan farm scenes to the outburst of his symbolic shapes—and his artistic reaction to the tumultuous and horrific decades of dictatorship and war in Spain and in Europe. Paintings, prints, collages, posters, murals and sculptures abound—Miró’s creative energy never flagged, whether at home or in exile.
The Constellations CD
My favorite part of the Miró exhibit is the wall crowded with 10 of the 23 “Constellation” paintings Miro created in 1940 and 1941. It’s a rare opportunity to see so many of these paintings, aflutter with animated creatures.
In 2002, percussionist Bobby Previte released the wonderful CD, The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró (Tzadik, $16.98), a perfect complement to the catalog and the exhibit.
It is a suite—one song inspired by each of the Constellations—played by an outstanding group of players. Previte’s huge array of tuned percussion—vibes, marimbas, orchestral chimes—suffuse the songs in shimmering tones. Soprano sax, bass clarinet, flute, trumpet, flugelhorn, celeste, organ, and harp add beautiful tonal colors.
The CD comes with a 36-page, full-color booklet which reproduces all 23 Constellations.
- András Goldinger
The 2012 Pulitzer Prizes
We had chosen all of these books as favorites last year. Read on to see our reviews for the Fiction nominees, and Non-Fiction and Poetry winners. We also have added selected commentators' perspectives about the judges' controversial decision to decline to name a Fiction winner. Maureen Corrigan offered what we thought were very reasonable suggestions
If the board, which received our three nominations in early December, is unhappy with the jury’s choices, then why not request that the jury put forward alternative selections?
And, finally, how about changing the rules so that the winner is determined by a plurality, rather than a majority of votes on the board. (And — Hello! — given that there are 18 voting members of the Pulitzer board, perhaps one more body should be added to break any potential ties.)
What do you think? Add your comment below.
National Book Award-winner Denis Johnson’s compact and intense Train Dreams (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $18) tells the story of Robert Granier, who spent his life from the early 1900s through the early 1960s working on lumber crews in Idaho and Montana. After losing his wife and daughter in a fire, Granier led a mostly solitary life homesteading and dealing with the enormous changes taking place around him, such as the advent of the automobile and the airplane. Rather than tell the story of a man’s life in exhaustive detail, Johnson captures the totality of Granier’s life by detailing just a few experiences over the course of his lifetime. Granier never lets go of the tragic deaths of his wife and daughter, and their passing merges in his mind with local folklore. Johnson’s character study reveals the essence of an ordinary man, and in that very ordinariness lies his glory. Mark LaFramboise
Two reviews from Barbara Meade
While I was reading Ahmed Rashid’s new book, Pakistan on the Brink (Viking, $26.95), I recollected a novel I had read about six months ago that takes place in the Northern Tribal Area on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Never have I more fully understood the saying, “all politics is local,” than I did in reading this beautiful short novel, The Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad (Riverhead, $25,95). The power of the family, the power of the tribe, and the power of religious belief and ancestral codes all pervade this entirely sad and moving story and in doing so, remarkably convey more about the barriers to peace in this region than any nonfiction history or current events titles. Publishers Weekly wrote about this novel: “A shadowy, enchanting journey…A gripping book, as important for illuminating the current state of this region as it is timeless in its beautiful imagery and rhythmic prose.”
Another short but hypnotic novel, The Sickness ($14.95), has just been published by Tin House Books, a small literary press in Portland. After reading the first chapter I was simply overwhelmed by the beauty of the writing, The author, Alberto Barrera Tyszka, is a Venezuelan writer and journalist and his book is translated from Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. It’s difficult for me to know whether the luminosity in the writing comes from the original language or its translation, but whichever it is, The Sickness was shortlisted for The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. The story revolves around a father-son relationship in which both are doctors who have been committed to being open and forthright with their patients about their diagnoses and prognoses, but when the son receives confirmation of his father’s terminal lung cancer, his filial devotion turns into an open conflict with his medical ethics. It’s the moral ambiguities that make this novel interesting but lyrical turns of the prose that make it radiant.
- Barbara Meade
Lapham’s Quarterly - Spring 2012
Edited and published by Lewis H. Lapham, a former editor of Harper’s Magazine, Lapham’s Quarterly ($15) boasts a rich and historical retinue of essays, stories and poems, some written specifically for each volume and others added from thousands of years of the literary canon. Despite its relative youth in the world of magazine literature, Lapham’s Quarterly has already established a prestigious history (4 years in, it already possesses a nomination for the National Magazine Award, alongside such fantastic names like The Paris Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Sun).
Its newest edition “Means of Communication,” does not disappoint. In Mr. Lapham’s Preamble, our editor recognizes that “new means of communication give rise to new structures of feeling and thoughts.” His inventory of contributors ranges from the Greek philosopher Lucretius to the contemporary novelist Toni Morrison.
-Anders T. Rosen