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The World of Raymond Chandler: In His Own Words

Chandler wrote not about crime or detection, as George V. Higgins observed, but about the corruption of the human spirit. Day deepens our understanding of how Chandler, who cared for his legacy, balanced commitment to principle with living and prospering in the real world.


Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014

In fact, all that can be expected from these economical, expertly told stories is that they’re near peerless, modern literary fiction at its very best.


Rocket and Lightship: Essays on Literature and Ideas

These incisive, deeply informed essays speak to the power of literature to illuminate, and transform, the world.


Shark

Go read it now. You'll be simultaneously entertained, mesmerized, intellectually stimulated, baffled — and laugh your ass off.


Let Me Be Frank With You

The stories in Let Me Be Frank with You have led me back into rereading the earlier Bascombe books — an advantage of art over life.


The Wild Truth

The Wild Truth is an important book on two fronts: It sets the record straight about a story that has touched thousands of readers, and it opens up a conversation about hideous domestic violence hidden behind a mask of prosperity and propriety.


Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014

It's a fitting companion to her Selected Stories (1968-1994) — a superb introduction for those new to her work, and a reminder to longtime fans that Munro is a writer to be cherished.


On the Edge

This is a novel to go to when you only want to be amused and distracted by someone terrifically — say terrifyingly — smart.


Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity

“Gay Berlin” is a very good, serious, detailed, scholarly work of history by an excellent researcher who has clearly done his homework — and then some.


Who We Be

Instead of a comprehensive and theoretical academic analysis on race in America, Chang seeks a more interesting and ambitious project, one that positions itself as a beginning of a conversation. And he succeeds.


Unstill Life: A Daughter's Memoir of Art and Love in the Age of Abstraction

In today’s era of soaring prices and celebrity artists, Gabrielle Selz reminds us that the makers of transcendent art may not be role models.


Before, During, After

Bausch’s tangential approach to the tragic 9/11 attacks suits his story well in that reality and tale artfully complement the emotional impact of each other.


A Map of Betrayal: A Novel

“A Map of Betrayal” is an uneven novel.


Wolf in White Van

“Wolf in White Van” is a stunning meditation on the power of escape, and on the cat-and-mouse contest the self plays to deflect its own guilt.


Some Luck: A novel

Smiley is so commanding as a novelist and critic that you feel she must have very definite reasons for telling these stories the way she does.


The Laughing Monsters

“The Laughing Monsters” addresses the vanishing present, a giddy trickle-down of global exploitation and hubris — the farcical exploits of cold dudes in a hard land.


Preparation for the Next Life

Atticus Lish’s first novel, “Preparation for the Next Life,” is unlike any American fiction I’ve read recently in its intricate comprehension of, and deep feeling for, life at the margins.


Napoleon: A Life

Roberts brilliantly conveys the sheer energy and presence of Napoleon the organizational and military whirlwind who, through crisp and incessant questioning, sized up people and problems and got things done.


Let Me Be Frank With You

If the trilogy of novels supplied the bangety bangety bangety, “Let Me Be Frank With You” provides the boop.


Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars

Perhaps Bolger poses the wrong question. Perhaps instead of asking “Who is the enemy?” he should be asking “What is the aim?” What is the United States trying to achieve in the greater Middle East, and to what extent can military power contribute to that enterprise?