New this week: The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud, A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel, NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, and three newly translated books from by Icelandic author Sjón: The Blue Fox, The Whispering Muse, and From the Mouth of the Whale. New in paperback is The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers.
Chris Adrian‘s pedigree is impressive: former Harvard Divinity student; Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate; current fellow in UCSF’s pediatric hematology/oncology department; lifelong fan of Shakespeare. He’s also found time to appear in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and McSweeney’s. Great Night, his latest novel, imaginatively reboots A Midsummer Night’s Dream by setting it in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park. Here’s some footage of him reading an excerpt at last month’s FSG Reading Series.
Victor Hugo, when asked about the other parts of Dante’s Divine Comedy that aren’t the widely-read Inferno, had this to say: “The human eye was not made to look upon so much light, and when the poem becomes happy, it becomes boring.” Ouch. Is this why so many of us haven’t even read Dante, despite his being a kind of cultural icon?
Out this week: Death of the Black-Haired Girl by Robert Stone; Hild by Nicola Griffith; A Permanent Member of the Family by Russell Banks; The Collected Stories of Stefan Zweig; and A Prayer Journal by Flannery O’Connor. For more on these and other new releases, go read our Great Second-Half 2013 Book Preview.
“Many of the most powerful characters in our best-loved stories are orphaned, adopted, fostered, or found. At the same time, many of the most powerless citizens in our society are orphaned, adopted, or fostered children, and the marginalized adults that so many become. Why have so few of us even noticed this centuries-old disparity?” On literature’s most celebrated protagonists, from Oliver Twist to Anne of Green Gables.