“I was interested enough in WikiLeaks, state transparency, and emergent opposition networks to do five years in prison over such things, but I wasn’t interested enough that I would have voluntarily plowed through 500 pages of badly plotted failed-marriage razzmatazz by an author who’s long past his expiration date simply in order to learn what the Great King of the Honkies thinks about all this.” Barrett Brown reviews Jonathan Franzen’s Purity from prison. Pair with our own Lydia Kiesling’s review of the book.
“Raymond Chandler did not invent the private eye — Dashiell Hammett and a few others got there first. But his vision is the one that caught the public eye and stuck most indelibly in the imagination, like — in one of his aromatic metaphors — ‘a tarantula on a slice of angel food.’” On a new biography of the man behind Phillip Marlowe.
Here’s a book that’s sure to be included in our second-half installment of our Most Anticipated books: Zadie Smith’s NW, which traces the lives of several people who make it out of one of Northwest London’s housing estates. The promotional copy calls it a “delicate, devastating novel of encounters.”
It’s been forty years since a burst of new critical attention gave Anthony Trollope a new life. What is it about him that makes his work enduringly relevant? In the latest New Yorker, Adam Gopnik argues that the author was a master of gossip. You could also read Sara Henary on the author’s two hundredth birthday.
Out this week: Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie; The Future Won’t Be Long by Jarett Kobek; How to Behave in a Crowd by Camille Bordas; The World Broke in Two by Bill Goldstein; A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton; Things That Happened Before the Earthquake by Chiara Barzini; and The Mountain by Paul Yoon. For more on these and other new titles, go read our most recent book preview.