Looking to get into Philip Roth? Not sure where to start in the perennial Nobel favorite’s massive ouevre? Thankfully, the novelist Gabriel Roth is here, swooping in with the only guide you’ll ever need. He explains why Portnoy’s Complaint made the splash it did, why Goodbye, Columbus put Roth on the map, and why the character of David Kepesh is critical to understanding Roth’s legacy. Related: Keith Meatto picks out ten lessons from the author’s work.
What happens when two magazine writers publish stories on the same topic within a month of each other? We get to read some of the best long-form journalism of the year. Both Esquire’s Chris Jones and The Washingtonian’s Garrett M. Graff wrote about what it was like to be on Air Force One after the Kennedy assassination. Jones’ “The Flight From Dallas” hits 7,600 words, but Graff’s “Angel is Airborne” totals 18,000. Save some time to read both because they’re equally gripping and uniquely told narratives.
“Rather than presenting a single, definitive story—an ostensibly objective chronicle of events—these books offer a past of competing perspectives, of multiple voices. They are not so much historical as archival: instead of giving us the imagined experience of an event, they offer the ambiguous traces that such events leave behind.” On the role of realist historical fictions.
Out this week: The Devil in Montmartre by Gary Inbinder; The Emperor of Ice Cream by Dan Gunn; Deeds of Darkness by Edward Marston; and The Cat and the Moon and Other Cat Poems, chosen by the British Library. For more on these and other recent titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.
Parks and Recreation star Amy Poehler has a new book on shelves this week, as does William Gibson. Also out: The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber; Hiding in Plain Sight by Nuruddin Farah; a new collection of Maeve Binchy’s Irish Times columns; and a hardcover compilation of entries in the NYT’s By the book series. For more on these and other new titles, check out our Great Second-half 2014 Book Preview.