Out this week: Good on Paper by Rachel Cantor; Girl Through Glass by Sari Wilson; Unspeakable Things by Kathleen Spivack; On the Edge by Rafael Chirbes; The Unfinished World by Amber Sparks; and Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine by Diane Williams. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2016 Book Preview.
It’s a big week for new books. Amitav Ghosh’s River of Smoke is now out, as is Lost Memory of Skin by Russell Banks, Chango’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy, Luminous Airplanes by Paul La Farge, and The Funny Man by John Warner, who recently appeared in these pages. Philip Roth’s American Trilogy is getting the Library of America treatment. (Capsule previews of all of the preceding titles are available here, incidentally). New in non-fiction is Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve: How the World Became Modern and Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin. And out in paperback: none other than Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom.
It’s not hard to find studies of the connection between creativity and alcohol. It’s a connection which great minds have remarked upon for centuries. But what’s less remarked upon is a more everyday relationship — the connection between great writing and food. In The New York Review of Books, Patricia Storace reads Sandra M. Gilbert’s The Culinary Imagination. (Related: Stephanie Bernhard tries out Hemingway’s recipes.)
In an excerpt of Out of Time, a new book on “the pleasures and perils of ageing,” author Lynne Segal makes a case that many iconic male writers — among them Philip Roth, John Updike and Martin Amis — display in their works a belief that the slow loss of virility is one of the most tragic effects of growing older for men. Citing passages from Toward the End of Time and Portnoy’s Complaint, she finds evidence that these writers’ depictions of masculinity reveal “obdurate social hierarchies of gender and ageing.” (Related: Keith Meatto on advice you can glean from Philip Roth’s work.)