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(10/08/2008) The Mirror Of Ideas/Le Mirior des idees by Michel Tournier. Lincoln. 1998. University Of Nebraska Press. Translated From The French By Jonathan F. Krell. keywords: Literature France Translated Philosophy. 137 pages. Jacket art - Titian, 'Venus with a Mirror'. 0803244304.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   If not by nature, then by habit, people Lend to match one thing with another - man and woman, laughter and tears, sickness and health, fire and water, master and servant-thereby accentuating similarities and contrasts and opening a field of relations. In THE MIRROR OF IDEAS, Michel Tournier examines these pairs and a host of others to demonstrate how pairing one object or idea with another generates the work of imagination, philosophy, and creative thinking of all kinds. Tournier treats pairs both lowly and Exalted - moving from fork and spoon, horse and bull, cat and dog, to fear and anguish, poetry and prose, body and soul, being and nothingness. Hardly an exhaustive inventory of traditional pairs, his selection nonetheless opens the door to patterns deeply embedded in culture and civilization, speech and writing, memory and habit. Possessed of both brilliant surfaces and surprising depths, Tournier's myriad reflections on the mirror of language reveal why his works have generated international attention and acclaim.

Michel Tournier is the author of more than twenty books, including FRIDAY and THE OGRE, both prizewinners.

Jonathan F. Krell is an associate professor of French at the University of Georgia.

 

 

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(10/07/2008) The Selected Poems Of Tomaz Salamun. New York. 1988. Ecco Press. Translated From The Slovene. Edited By Charles Simic. Introduction By Robert Hass. keywords: Poetry Translated Eastern Europe Czech Slovene. 93 pages. Jacket design by Jo Anne Metsch. Photograph of the author by Charles LePrince. 0880011602.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From the Introduction: Salamun belongs to the generation of Eastern European poets - it includes Joseph Brodsky of Russia and Adam Zagajewski of Poland - who came of age in the 1960s. He shares with these contemporaries a sense of history and commitment to the freedom of his art, but he is likely to take some Western readers by surprise because he also belongs to the traditions of European avant-garde and experimental poetry. This crossbreeding has produced a unique and exhilarating body of work. Playful, strange, full of whimsical self-mythologizing, marked by a sense of the absurd, an edge of anger, a sense of compassion for all forms of private and baffled suffering, his work has the genuinely unpredictable quality that always signals the presence of a living imagination. Salamun, like Brodsky and Zagajewski, grew up not with the searing experience of war and its aftermath that has marked the poetry of the older generation, but in the postwar years, when the pinched material circumstances of economic recovery and the pervasive intellectual dishonesty of Stalinism were a kind of normality, the world as given. [The] political condition which for the older generation marked a change, a narrowing of possibilities, seems to have been for the younger generation part of the atmosphere of childhood, so they experienced it as not so much a matter of culture, but a matter of nature. This is not a poetics of revolution, or even of revolt. The issue isn't justice. It has no millenarian program; it is oppressed by the language of a millenarian program. And so it has the quality of inchoate rebellion, rebellion without a program. It begins in a negation that is also an act of self-liberation, and its future is open-ended. It is this tradition, or this historical moment in European poetry, to which Tomaz Salamun, with his love of the poetics of rebellion, belongs.

Tomaz Salamun writes in Slovene and lives in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia. He has written over twenty volumes of poetry, and has been widely translated and anthologized.

Charles Simic has translated numerous books of Yugoslav poetry; his own poetry has been published in books, anthologies, and periodicals in many countries and several languages. He lives in New Hampshire.

Robert Hass is the author of Twentieth Century Pleasures, winner of the 1984 National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism. He is currently at work on his third collection of poems, and lives in Berkeley, California.

 

 

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(10/06/2008) Snow by Tomaz Salamun. West Brach. 1973. Toothpaste Press. Translated From The Slovene By The Author In Collaboration W/Michael Waltuch, Anselm Hollo, Bob Perelman, Deborah Kohloss & Elliott Anderson. keywords: Poetry Translated Eastern Europe Yugoslavia Literature. no page count.

Salamun's 'History' is one of my all-time favorite poems.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Tomaz Salamun is a Slovenian poet. He was born in 1941 in Zagreb, Croatia, and raised in Koper, Slovenia. He has published 30 collections of poetry in his native Slovenian language. Salamun spent two years at the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop in the 1970s and has lived for periods of time in the United States since then. For a time, he served as Cultural Attache to the Slovenian Embassy in New York. He has had ten collections of poetry published in English, including The Selected Poems of Tomaz Salamun ; The Shepherd, the Hunter ; The Four Questions of Melancholy ; Feast, 'Poker', 'Row!', 'The Book for My Brother', and 'Woods and Chalices' He lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and is married to the painter Metka Krashovec. SNOW is one of two American chapbooks that were published as a result of Tomaz Salamun's collaborations with a group of poets at the Iowa Writer's Workshop. 'By the time they were published, he had returned to Ljubljana, where he worked at odd jobs, translated William Carlos Williams and Apollinaire, Balzac and Simone de Beauvoir, divorced, taught primary school in a village, and worked as a salesman while continuing to write his poems. In 1979 he remarried and received a grant that allowed him to travel to Mexico, where he lived during 1979 and 1980. Salamun returned to Ljubljana in 1981. The pace of the writing in the 1980s has slowed and the vision is noticeably darker'.

 

 

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(10/05/2008) The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal. New York. 2001. Doubleday. keywords: Literature America Essays. 465 pages. Jacket photograph by Frederick Schmitt. 0385501544. May 2001.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   THE LAST EMPIRE is Gore Vidal's ninth collection of essays in the course of his distinguished literary career. As in the previous volumes, which include the 1993 National Book Award--winning UNITED STATES - ESSAYS 1952--1992, Vidal displays unparalleled range and inimitable style as he deals with matters literary, historical, personal, and political. There are warm appreciations of Edmund Wilson, Dawn Powell, Sinclair Lewis, and Mark Twain; polemical observations on the major figures and deplorable developments in American politics--Bill Clinton, FDR, JFK, his cousin Al Gore, the CIA and the American empire, the global reach of media conglomerates, and the United States' disdain for the UN--as well as fascinating autobiographical vignettes. Pieces that have already generated shock waves include his essay in dispraise of the works of John Updike, his controversial defense of Charles Lindbergh, and his attack on the national security state that first appeared in Vanity Fair.

 

 

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(10/03/2008) Matters Of Fact & Fiction by Gore Vidal. New York. 1977. Random House. keywords: Literature America Essays. 287 pages. Jacket design - The Artworks. 0394411285. April 1977.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Gore Vidal, celebrated novelist and playwright, is one of our foremost literary and political essayists as well. This new collection of his essays, written during the years 1973-76, is divided into two parts. The first deals with fiction and includes such pieces as 'Calvino's Novels', 'Professor V. Nabokov', and his most recent and controversial piece, 'American Plastic', a sharp criticism of some of today's fashionable novelists. The second part deals with politics and the world in general. It includes Vidal's pieces on Tennessee Williams, the Adams family, the Grants, E. Howard Hunt, Robert Moses and New York, and his 'State of the Union' address.

  

 

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(10/02/2008) Homage To Daniel Shays by Gore Vidal. New York. 1972. Random House. keywords: Literature America Essays. 451 pages. Jacket design by Irving Bogen. 0394482107. December 1972.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   For the first time the essays of Gore Vidal are available in one volume. The range of subjects is wide: Nixon, pornography, the Kennedys, Tarzan, Mishima, drugs, Eleanor Roosevelt, the French, New Novel, Suetonius, the American empire. The essays have been arranged in the order in which they were written over the last two decades. Some are already well known; others have never before been collected. Acknowledged master of the essay as a literary form, Vidal continues to display that 'sort of well-informed aloofness' which, according to Time Magazine, 'is the secret of the Vidal all-purpose style. He writes about live people rather as if they were dead and dead people rather as if they were alive.'

 

 

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(10/01/2008) Under Western Eyes by Joseph Conrad. New York. 1911. Harper & Brothers. keywords: Literature England 20th Century. 378 pages. October 1911.

A political novel of great and disturbing power.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Carrying a dramatic intensity beyond that even of his masterpiece, HEART OF DARKNESS, UNDER WESTERN EYES is Conrad's third and last major novel of political treachery and oppression. Along with THE SECRET AGENT and NOSTROMO, it presages the espionage thrillers of John Le Carre and Graham Greene with its spies and counterspies, brooding atmosphere of suspense, and riveting portrayal of betrayal, guilt, and intrigue. For Conrad himself it was a work of wrenching emotionality that took him to the edge of mental breakdown. The novel begins with a bomb that explodes to assassinate a hated Russian minister of police - and kill a number of innocent bystanders as well. The young student who first hides the perpetrator, then betrays him and becomes a spy among his exiled comrades, is Razumov, who in one irrevocable moment becomes entangled in a moral dilemma from which there is no escape. Conrad professed that he intended to render 'the psychology of Russia', a country being driven by a Czarist despotism into anarchy by revolutionaries 'unable to see that all they can effect is merely a name of names'. What he created in this masterwork published six years before the Russian Revolution was a chillingly accurate portrayal of the future - and of the terrorists who, acting in the name of liberty, still haunt our times.

 

 

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(09/30/2008) Little Novels by Arthur Schnitzler. New York. 1929. Simon & Schuster. Translated From The German By Eric Sutton. keywords: Literature Translated Germany Austria. 279 pages.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -


   Faintly reminiscent of the clinical casebooks of Freud and Stekel are these ten compact novels, no longer than short stories, written at various times in Schnitzler's career, now translated into English for the first time. CONTENTS: The Fate of the Baron; The Stranger; The Greek Dancing-Girl; The Prophecy; Blind Geronimo and His Brother; Andreas Thameyer's Last Letter; Redegonda's Diary; Dead Gabriel; The Murderer; and The Death of a Bachelor.

Arthur Schnitzler was an Austrian dramatist and novelist. The son of a prominent Jewish Viennese physician, he studied and practiced medicine until he attracted critical notice with his drama ANATOL, a cycle of one-act plays concerning a philanderer. He followed a similar format in LA RONDE, a cycle of plays about related sexual liaisons, which later served as inspiration for a 1950 Max Ophuls film and a 1998 David Hare drama. Schnitzler's plays, novellas, and novels of fin-de-siecle Vienna are distinguished by their sparkling wit, brilliant style, and clinical observations of human psychology and social disintegration. His concern is with individual happiness, his approach is subtle and amoral, his tone unsentimental and ironic, and his dramatic problems often focused on love and sexual faithfulness. Among his more significant dramas are Liebelei ; THE LONELY WAY, on artistic dedication; THE VAST DOMAIN ; and PROFESSOR BERNHARDI a tragedy about anti-Semitism. Of his novels, THE ROAD TO THE OPEN is autobiographical; he also wrote several novellas and numerous short stories.

  

 

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(09/29/2008) World's End by T. Coraghessan Boyle. New York. 1987. Viking Press. keywords: Literature America. 456 pages. Jacket design & illustration by Fred Marcellino. 067081489x. October 1987.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Haunted by the burden of his family's traitorous past, woozy with pot, cheap wine, and sex, and disturbed by a frighteningly real encounter with some family ghosts, Walter Van Brunt is about to have a collision with history. It will lead Walter to search for his lost father. And it will send the story into the past of the Hudson River Valley, from the late 1960s back to the anticommunist riots of the 1940s, to the late seventeenth century, where the long-hidden secrets of three families--the aristocratic Van Warts, the Native-American Mohonks, and Walter's own ancestors, the Van Brunts--will be revealed.

 

 

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(09/28/2008) The Man Who Loved Attending Funerals & Other Stories by Frank Collymore. Portsmouth. 1993. Heinemann. keywords: Literature Caribbean Black Barbados. 179 pages. Cover illustration by Jamel Akib. 0435989316.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Frank Collymore was at the centre of the West Indian literary renaissance of the forties and fifties. He was a master of the short story, bringing together a mordant wit and a sympathetic understanding of human failings to tackle subjects ranging from the eccentric to the psychotic. This collection includes 'Shadows', a sombre depiction of alienation, a satirical dissection of social climbing in 'RSVP to Mrs Bush-Hall', and in 'The Snag' a young boy's growing pains are written about with gentle irony.

 

 

 

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(09/27/2008) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. New York. 2008. Modern Library. Translated From The French By Julie Rose. Introduction By Adam Gopnik. Notes By James Madden. keywords: Literature France 19th Century Translated. 1331 pages. Jacket painting is a detail of 'Umbrella' by Maria Bashkirserva. Jacket design by Gabrielle Bordwin. 9780679643333.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   In this major new rendition by the acclaimed translator Julie Rose, Victor Hugo's tour de force, LES MISERABLES, is revealed in its full unabridged glory. A favorite of readers for nearly 150 years, and the basis for one of the most beloved stage musicals ever, this stirring tale of crime, punishment, justice, and redemption pulses with life and energy. Hugo sweeps readers from the French provinces to the back alleys of Paris, and from the battlefield of Waterloo to the bloody ramparts of Paris during the uprising of 1832. First published in 1862, this sprawling novel is an extravagant historical epic that is teeming with harrowing adventures and unforgettable characters. In the protagonist, Jean Valjean, a quintessential prisoner of conscience who languished for years in prison for stealing bread to feed his starving family, LES MISERABLES depicts one of the grand themes in literature-that of the hunted man. Woven into the narrative are the prevalent social issues of Hugo's day: injustice, authoritarian rule, social inequality, civic unrest. And this new translation brings astonishing vivacity and depth to Hugo's immortal dramatis personae-the relentless police detective Javert, the saintly bishop Myriel, the tragic prostitute Fantine and her innocent daughter, Cosette, the dashing lover Marius, and many others whom Jean Valjean encounters on his path to sublime sacrifice. Featuring an Introduction by the award-winning journalist and author Adam Gopnik, this Modern Library edition is an outstanding, authoritative translation of a masterpiece, a literary high-wire act that continues to astonish, stimulate, enlighten, and entertain readers around the world.

Victor Hugo, novelist, poet, playwright, and French national icon, is best known for two of today's most popular world classics: LES MISERABLES and THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE-DAME, as well as other works, including THE TOILERS OF THE SEA and THE MAN WHO LAUGHS. Hugo was elected to the Academie Francaise in 1841. As a statesman, he was named a Peer of France in 1845. He served in France's National Assemblies in the Second Republic formed after the 1848 revolution, and in 1851 went into self-imposed exile upon the ascendance of Napoleon III, who restored France's government to authoritarian rule. Hugo returned to France in 1870 after the proclamation of the Third Republic.

Julie Rose's acclaimed translations include Alexandre Dumas's THE KNIGHT OF MAISON-ROUGE and Racine's PHADRE, as well as works by Paul Virilio, Jacques Ranciere, Chantal Thomas, and many others. She is a recipient of the PEN medallion for translation and the New South Wales Premier's Translation Prize.

Adam Gopnik is the author of Paris TO THE MOON and THROUGH THE CHILDREN'S GATE, and editor of the Library of America anthology Americans in Paris. He writes on various subjects for The New Yorker and has recently written introductions to works by Maupassant, Balzac, Proust, and Alain-Fournier.

 

 

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(09/26/2008) Secret Isaac by Jerome Charyn. New York. 1978. Arbor House. keywords: Literature America Cops. 315 pages. Jacket design by Paul Bacon. 0877951969. October 1978.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Beginning with BLUE EYES, and continuing with MARILYN THE WILD and THE EDUCATION OF PATRICK SILVER, Jerome Charyn developed a true American original, Isaac Sidel, First Deputy Police Commissioner of New York City - of Big City Anywhere, America, really - a wounded romantic whose heart is ravaged by too much love for his fellow lesser-man, whose guts are on fire with too much rage at the well-placed killers of his City's dreams. Now in SECRET ISAAC Mr. Charyn allows the reader to discover the essential Isaac, the secret Isaac, trailing him from New York City's political halls and lower depths to Dublin's Joycean underworld as he pursues villainy, true love and terrible revenge, and along the way creates a masterwork.

 

 

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(09/25/2008) The Education Of Patrick Silver by Jerome Charyn. New York. 1976. Arbor House. keywords: Literature America Cops. 184 pages. Jacket design by Loretta Trezzo. 087795142x.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Here is the capstone to Jerome Charyn's contemporary 'brilliantly conceived crime-and-punishment trilogy' begun with BLUE EYES and continued with MARILYN THE WILD - together building a cosmos of big city folks placed high and low, in hot pursuit of life in extremis. wonderful, terrible, true. At the center is Patrick Silver, defrocked cop, ex-colleague and now antagonist of Isaac Sidel, the First Deputy Police Commissioner of New York, also known as 'the Blue Godfather' Patrick Silver's present beat is an Irish synogogue, his enemies are fearsome, his constituents are suspicious, his love and just reward, finally, is Odile Leonhardy, a teen-age sorceress whose office is the Plaza, whose favors are a blessing. Crime-punishment-reward form the education of Patrick Silver, and the trilogy of Jerome Charyn's extraordinary achievement.

 

 

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(09/24/2008) Marilyn The Wild by Jerome Charyn. New York. 1976. Arbor House. keywords: Literature America Cops. 246 pages. Jacket design by Paul Bacon. 0877951292.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   The new novel about a kind of Jewish Popeye Doyle and his rampant daughter, by a 'marvelous' author who 'forces one deep into his inimitable world of tough-talking fuzz' that 'makes the friends of Eddie Coyle look like choirboys' Isaac Sidel was a cop--the toughest, hardest and most incorruptible in the business; and he ruled the meanest kingdom of the city --the Lower East Side. The only one he couldn't handle was Marilyn the Wild, his daughter and the only person he truly loved. Also, Rupert, the brilliant vindictive son of Isaac's oldest friend, who in an alliance with a kung-fu expert and a fiery teen-age 'mama' formed the Lollipop Gang, dedicated to the violent end of Isaac's sway. When his gang was finally broken, Rupert then stalked Isaac's softest spot, Marilyn, in one of the best page-turning finales ever written. This high voltage novel pulls the reader into America's urban underbelly--wild, terrifying and wondrously tender in its fashion. Its people and their remarkable histories will not let you go. not even long after the very last page.

 

 

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(09/23/2008) Blue Eyes by Jerome Charyn. New York. 1974. Simon & Schuster. keywords: Literature America Cops. 234 pages. Jacket design by Paul Bacon. 0671218565.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Manfred 'Shotgun' Coen, detective first grade, New York City Police Department, master of flick shots, phony spins and the penholder, is a ping-pong freak, as fast with his serve as he is in a shoot-out. He is a special kind of cop, a loner, who wears magenta socks, eats at Cuban restaurants and refuses to live on Long Island with his fellow policemen. Coen is also the boyhood friend of Cesar Guzmann, a gambler and whorehouse entrepreneur, whose family migrated to the Bronx via Peru many years, ago, and who prays to Moses, John the Baptist and Saint Jerome Because of his special knowledge of the Peruvian underworld, Coen is assigned to investigate the disappearance of Caroline Child, niece of a prominent theatrical producer, who may have run away from school with her friend Odile. Odile is New York's porno queen, mistress of The Dwarf, a notorious Village lesbian bar, and an employee of the Guzmann family. Coen's search takes him to Mexico and back to New York for a final ping-pong match with a 'downtown' shark hired at $100 an hour to defeat Coen at his own game.

 

 

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(09/22/2008) The Hoax by Italo Svevo. New York. 1930. Harcourt Brace & Company. Translated from the Italian, with an Introduction by Beryl de Zoete. keywords: Literature Translated Italy. 166 pages. First published in Italian as Una burla riuscita, 1929.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This is the first work to be published in America of the great modern Italian writer and friend of James Joyce. Having written for several years in comparative obscurity, Italo Svevo was discovered by James Joyce and brought to the attention of the various French writers and critics. Just as his work was beginning to arouse keen interest in French and Italian literary circles Svevo was killed in a motor accident in 1928. Since his death European critics have done their best to redeem a quarter of a century's indifference. THE HOAX is the last published work of Svevo. The story of a practical joke played on a simpleton of provincial letters, it is deliciously poised between tragedy and comedy. 'In its small way it is really a little masterpiece,' writes V. Sackville-West. 'A book one wants not merely to possess but to adopt,' says the London Nation.

 

 

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(09/21/2008) Betrayed By Rita Hayworth by Manuel Puig. New York. 1971. Dutton. Translated From The Spanish By Suzanne Jill Levine. keywords: Literature Translated Argentina Latin America. 223 pages. Cover: Wendell Minor. 0525066306. September 1971.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Hailed as one of the most important young writers in Latin America today, Manuel Puig, in his widely praised first novel, re-creates with wry compassion the provincial world of a middle-class Argentine family. Through a series of dialogues and soliloquies, as real and sometimes mysterious as conversations overheard, the boy Toto, his relatives and neighbors, servants and schoolmates, spring unforgettably to life. For all of them the only escape from the dreariness of small-town living is the movies. They are all that give shape and color to their existence. Telling of their dreams and fears in language that may parody the cliches of soap opera or the pseudo-literary style of a term paper, they speak of their marital troubles, of making ends meet, or getting girls, or finding a husband. Toto's cousin dreams of being a sports star, while a scholarship student hopes one day to eat North American pan queques - the status symbol of the day. Most of all, they dream of going to Buenos Aires, where the movies are even better. BETRAYED BY RITA HAYWORTH was originally published in Argentina, and has since been translated into French, German, Portuguese, and Italian. When published in France, Le Monde listed it as one of the best foreign novels of the year. In both Latin America and Europe, the critical praise has been extraordinary.

Manuel Puig was an Argentinian author. Among his best known novels are La traici0n de Rita Hayworth, Boquitas pintadas, and El beso de la mujer arana, which was made into a film by the Argentine-Brazilian Director, Hector Babenco and in 1993 into a Broadway musical. He was born in General Villegas After unsuccessfully studying architecture in the Universidad de Buenos Aires, he began working as a film archivist and editor in Buenos Aires and later, in Italy after winning a scholarship from the Italian Institute of Buenos Aires. Puig's dream was to become a screenwriter to write TV shows and movies. His career as a screenwriter never took off, however. In the 1960s, he moved back to Buenos Aires, where he penned his first major novel, a Traicion de Rita Hayworth. Because he had leftist political tendencies also foresaw a rightist wave in Argentina, Puig moved to Mexico in 1973, where he wrote his later works Much of Puig's work can be seen as pop art. Perhaps due to his work in film and television, Puig managed to create a writing style that incorporated elements of these mediums, such as montage and the use of multiple points of view. He also made much use of popular culture in his works. In Latin American literary histories, he is presented as a writer who belongs to the Postboom and Post-modernist schools. Puig lived in exile throughout most of his life. In 1989 Puig moved from Mexico City to Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he died in 1990. In the official biography, his close friend Suzanne Jill Levine, Manuel Puig and the Spider Woman: His Life and Fiction writes that Puig had been in pain for a few days prior to being admitted to a hospital, where he was told that his gallbladder was inflamed and would have to be taken out. After the surgery, while Puig was recovering, he began to choke and gasp. The medical team were unable to help Puig. His lungs had filled with fluid, and he died of a heart attack at 4:55 am on July 22,1990.

 

 

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(09/20/2008) Budding Prospects by T. Coraghessan Boyle. New York. 1984. Viking Press. keywords: Literature America Drugs. 326 pages. Jacket design by Michael Doret. 0670194395. May 1984.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   From a brilliant young novelist who has already been compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, John Fowles, Thomas Pynchon, John Barth, and Tom Robbins, here is a hilarious and pyrotechnic yarn about marijuana farming in northern California. Its hero is Felix, an oddly attractive 31-year-old wastrel who has taken a left turn from the mainstream but is still powered by its illusions. He has run out on practically everything in his life - the Boy Scouts, graduate school, his wife - and now he has hit a solitary low point. As he tells it, 'I woke alone, I flossed my teeth alone, worked at odd jobs, ate take-out burritos, read the newspaper and undressed for bed alone. ' He is, in short, ready to be talked into farming a crop of sinsemilla by his enterprising friend Vogelsang, an entrepreneur who collects antique esoterica, cases of dry red wine from little vineyards with names like Goat's Crouch, and girls like the punkette Aorta, a singer with an all-female group called the Nostrils. Felix enlists two other lost souls in this pastoral labor: an old school Friend named Phil Cherniske and Phil's 200-pound housemate, Gesh. Together the three of them set off for the lonely hills of northern California where - sustained by booze, exotic chemicals, masculine conversation, and the occasional woman - they propose, under conditions of the greatest secrecy, to carry off a major agricultural coop worth more than a million dollars. But they haven't reckoned with the not-so-benevolent neighborliness of the farmer on the next hill and his mentally unbalanced son, or the depredations of wildlife and the vicissitudes of nature, or the havoc wrought on their necessarily hermetic solitude by the lusts of the flesh. And most of all they haven't prepared for the fact that Felix will undertake - on behalf of a wayward sculptress with whom he has fallen improbably in love - a one-man vendetta against a drug-busting state trooper named Jerpbak. What follows is an irresistible, exuberant narrative that brings its author's full-throttle wit and dazzling gift for storytelling into balance with deeply sympathetic characterizations and an affirmative moral vision. As Salman Rushdie said of WATER MUSIC, Mr. Boyle's first novel, 'Gulp it down; it beats getting drunk.'

 

 

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(09/19/2008) Cathedral by Raymond Carver. New York. 1983. Knopf. keywords: Literature America. 228 pages. Jacket art & design by Sara Eisenman. 0394528840. September 1983.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   It was with a collection of short stories called WILL YOU PLEASE BE QUIET, PLEASE? that a young, unknown writer from Clatskanie, Oregon, took the critics by surprise and first established his claim to national notice. Thereafter, on the evidence of a second collection, WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT LOVE, Cambridge University's Frank Kermode declared Raymond Carver a master of the short form. A new vision, a new method, a new tonality - these are the components of the program that has elevated Carver to international prominence. What is promptly recognizable in his work is the queer effect that issues from its surface simplicity. It is a plainness that gives off yeasty intimations of menace, as if weirdly unhygienic tales were being told, warnings of malignancies that might overtake you if you picked up the wrong utensil, uttered the wrong word. And yet Carver's world is really the world of the homely and the unexceptional, colorless people going about the business of their colorless lives. How Carver makes of their uninflected histories a primer on moral terror speaks to the magic of his force as a literary artist. But nowhere in his earlier fiction is the alchemy by which he transmutes the banal into the numinous so strange and so potent as it is in Cathedral. Indeed, the twelve stories in this book constitute a kind of grammar of that feathery language only the heart ever hears, and only at four o'clock in the morning. There is something morbidly forbidden in the places these stories go, in the sensations mere objects are made to deliver - packages of frozen food thawing on a kitchen table, a plaster cast of teeth set atop a television cabinet, the figuration of a spaceship on a birthday cake decorated for a child who must die. But none of the images will grip you as ferociously as will the one at the close of the title story - the hand of a blind man seen riding the hand of a sighted man. It is as if Carver has passed a wand over words on paper, and thus made of this story, and of those that precede it, a version of the thing itself, the charmed interior of that edifice, the cathedral - a spaciousness that is hushed, severe, transporting.

 

 

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(09/17/2008) Selected Tales by Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm. New York. 1982. Penguin Books. Translated From The German & With An Introduction & Notes By David Luke. keywords: Penguin Classics Literature Germany Translated Folktales. 422 pages. Cover shows an illustration to Briar-Rose by Viktor Paul Mohn. 0140444017.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

    Tales told by nurses and children, the talk of winter evenings, the stories heard in spinning-rooms. To reproduce these and the entire oral tradition of Germany was the ambitious project of the Grimm brothers in the early nineteenth century. Drawing on Jacob's scholarship and Wilhelm's literary talent, they published in 1812 Kinder - und Hausmarchen. a collection of stories which remains to this day the most famous body of folktales in the world. These stories, which they so lovingly collected have, as wholes or in part, innumerable parallels or equivalents outside as well as inside Germany. Not only are they often variants of each other but they also contain many of the motifs found in folktales ail over the world, such as the animal bridegroom, the wicked stepmother or the magic purse. The editor has provided an introduction and useful notes to add authenticity to the stories, of the sixty- five in his selection six have been translated by Gilbert McKay into a Scots dialect and two into Irish idiom by Philip Schofield.

 

 

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(09/16/2008) Other Colors: Essays & Stories by Orhan Pamuk. New York. 2007. Knopf. Translated From The Turkish By Maureen Freely. keywords: Literature Translated Turkey. 434 pages. Jacket photograpg by Ara Guler. Jacket design by Chip Kidd. 9780307266750.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Orhan Pamuk's first book since winning the Nobel Prize, OTHER COLORS is a dazzling collection of essays on his life, his city, his work, and the example of other writers. Over the last three decades, Pamuk has written, in addition to his seven novels, scores of pieces - personal, critical, and meditative - the finest of which he has brilliantly woven together here. He opens a window on his private life, from his boyhood dislike of school to his daughter's precocious melancholy, from his successful struggle to quit smoking to his anxiety at the prospect of testifying against some clumsy muggers who fell upon him during a visit to New York City. From ordinary obligations such as applying for a passport or sharing a holiday meal with relatives, he takes extraordinary flights of imagination; in extreme moments, such as the terrifying days following a cataclysmic earthquake in Istanbul, he lays bare our most basic hopes and fears. Again and again Pamuk declares his faith in fiction, engaging the work of such predecessors as Laurence Sterne and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, sharing fragments from his notebooks, and commenting on his own novels. He contemplates his mysterious compulsion to sit alone at a desk and dream, always returning to the rich deliverance that is reading and writing by turns witty, moving, playful, and provocative, OTHER COLORS glows with the energy of a master at work and gives us the world through his eyes, assigning every radiant theme and shifting mood its precise shade in the spectrum of significance.

Orhan Pamuk is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature for 2006. His novel MY NAME IS RED won the 2003 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His work has been translated into more than fifty languages. He lives in Istanbul.

 

 

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(09/15/2008) Complete Short Fiction by Oscar Wilde. New York. 2003. Penguin Books. Edited with an introduction and notes by Ian Small. keywords: Literature England. 280 pages. The cover is a detail from illustration by Charles Robinson (1888) - 'The Remarkable Rocket' by Oscar Wilde. 0141439696.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Fairy tales, ghost stories, detective fiction and comedies of manners - the stories collected in this volume made Oscar Wilde's name as a writer of fiction, showing breathtaking dexterity in a wide range of literary styles. Victorian moral justice is comically inverted in 'Lord Arthur Savile's Crime' and 'The Centerville Ghost', and society's materialism comes under sharp, humorous criticism in 'The Model Millionaire', while 'The Happy Prince' and 'The Nightingale and the Rose' are hauntingly melancholic in their magical evocations of selfless love. These small masterpieces convey the brilliance of Wilde's vision, exploring complex moral issues through an elegant juxtaposition of wit and sentiment. This edition includes the complete texts of Wilde's three volumes of short fiction, together with 'The Portrait of Mr W. H. ' Ian Small's introduction discusses Wilde's life, the cultural and literary background to his fiction and the complex ways in which it can be read.

 

 

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(09/13/2008) 1876 by Gore Vidal. New York. 1976. Random House. keywords: Literature America. 365 pages. 0394497503. March 1976.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Gore Vidal's Narratives of Empire series spans the history of the United States from the Revolution to the post-World War II years. With their broad canvas and large cast of fictional and historical characters, the novels in this series present a panorama of the American political and imperial experience as interpreted by one of its most worldly, knowing, and ironic observers. The centennial of the United States was celebrated with great fanfare--fireworks, exhibitions, pious calls to patriotism, and perhaps the most underhanded political machination in the country's history: the theft of the presidency from Samuel Tilden in favor of Rutherford B. Hayes. This was the Gilded Age, when robber barons held the purse strings of the nation, and the party in power was determined to stay in power. Gore Vidal's 1876 gives us the news of the day through the eyes of Charlie Schuyler, who has returned from exile to regain a lost fortune and arrange a marriage into New York society for his widowed daughter. And although Tammany Hall has faltered and Boss Tweed has fled, the effects of corruption reach deep, even into Schuyler's own family.

 

 

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(09/12/2008) What Is Art? by Leo Tolstoy. New York. 1995. Penguin Books. Translated From The Russian by Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky. Preface by Richard Pevear. keywords: Literature Russia Translated. 202 pages. The cover shows 'Golden Cell or Blue Profile' 1893, by Odilon Redon. 0140446427.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   'What then is art, if we discard the all-confusing concept of beauty?' During the decades of his world fame as sage and preacher as well as author of WAR AND PEACE and ANNA KARENIN, Tolstoy wrote prolifically in a series of essays and polemics on issues of morality, social justice and religion. These culminated in WHAT IS ART?, published in 1898. Although Tolstoy perceived the question of art to be a religious one, he considered and rejected the idea that art reveals and reinvents through beauty. The works of Dante, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Baudelaire and even his own novels are condemned in the course of Tolstoy's impassioned and iconoclastic redefinition of art as a force for good, for the progress and improvement of mankind. In his illuminating preface Richard Pevear considers WHAT IS ART? in relation to the problems of faith and doubt, and the spiritual anguish and fear of death which preoccupied Tolstoy in the last decades of his life.

 

 

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(09/11/2008) The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela. New York. 1929. Brentano's. Illustrated By J. C. Orozco. Novel Of The Mexican Revolution. Translated From The Spanish By E. Munguia, Jr. Preface By Carlton Beals. keywords: Literature Translated Mexico Latin America. 225 pages. Cover: J. C. Orozco.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   This epic novel of the Mexican Revolution was originally published in installments in 1915 in an El Paso, Texas, newspaper. Since then, THE UNDERDOGS - the story of a courageous Indian farmer who almost unwittingly rises to a generalship in Pancho Villa's rebel army-has steadily gained recognition in Mexico and Latin America, winning renown as the classic novel about the war. Despite the international interest in Latin American fiction generated by writers like Carlos Fuentes and Gabriel Garcia Marquez since the 1960's, The Underdogs has yet to receive the full recognition it deserves in North America.

 

 

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(09/10/2008) The Falling Man by Don Delillo. New York. 2007. Simon & Schuster. keywords: Literature America. 249 pages. Jacket design by John Fulbrook III. 1416546022. May 2007.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   There is September 11 and then there are the days after, and finally the years. FALLING MAN is a magnificent, essential novel about the event that defines turn-of-the-century America. It begins in the smoke and ash of the burning towers and tracks the aftermath of this global tremor in the intimate lives of a few people. First there is Keith, walking out of the rubble into a life that he'd always imagined belonged to everyone but him. Then Lianne, his estranged wife, memory-haunted, trying to reconcile two versions of the same shadowy man. And their small son Justin, standing at the window, scanning the sky for more planes. These are lives choreographed by loss, grief and the enormous force of history. Brave and brilliant, FALLING MAN traces the way the events of September 11 have reconfigured our emotional landscape, our memory and our perception of the world. It is cathartic, beautiful, heartbreaking.

 

 

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(09/09/2008) Burr by Gore Vidal. New York. 1973. Random House. keywords: Literature America. 433 pages. Jacket design by Jack Ribik. 0394480244. November 1973.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Aaron Burr, a hero of the American Revolution, served as vice-president under Thomas Jefferson, took the life of Alexander Hamilton in a duel and was tried for treason when Jefferson accused him of plotting to make an empire of his own in the western territories. This novel is in the form of a memoir, told partly by Burr at the end of his long life and partly by a young journalist in whom Burr confides. Though the memoir itself and the young journalist are fictional, the facts are actual. The portraits of the major characters - Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, the Madisons, Jackson, Van Buren - are drawn from their own words and from the observations of their contemporaries. The result is a brilliantly realized and enormously engaging work of fiction which accurately describes the founding struggles and the endless intrigues of the new United States. Burr himself is a character of great fascination, a dark shadow over the early nation, who lived out his long life partly as a suspected traitor and partly as one of the most brilliant, heroic and colorful of the founding fathers - a character as complex and ambiguous as America itself. The scenes of battle at Quebec and Monmouth Courthouse, the long winter at Valley Forge, are done with great vigor and clarity; the political intrigues are rendered as if they were today's headlines, the characters as precise and alive as they must have seemed at the time. BURR is the rarest of books - a powerfully readable historical novel which at the same tone re-creates with scrupulous accuracy and the originality of a major historical imagination die most significant years in the history of America.

 

 

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(09/07/2008) The Marquise Of O & Other Stories by Heinrich von Kleist. New York. 1983. Penguin Books. Translated From The German & With An Introduction By David Luke & Nigel Reeves. keywords: Penguin Classic Paperback Literature Germany Translated 19th Century. 320 pages. The cover shows a detail from 'Portrait of Frau von Cotta' by Gottlieb Schick, in the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart. 0140443592.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Between 1799, when he resigned his commission in the Prussian army, and his suicide in 1811, Kleist wrote stories and plays of a kind quite unprecedented in German literature. His writing expressed the state of mind that follows upon the loss of every article of faith which he had imbibed in his early years from the German Enlightenment. It is Kleist's vulnerability and disequilibrium, his pronounced sense of evil, his desperate challenge to established values and beliefs that carry him further than Goethe or Schiller across the gap between the eighteenth century and today. The world of all these stories is an unpredictable one - a world of dislocated causality on which inexplicable factors intrude and in which sanity is poised in the brink of destruction.

 

 

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(09/06/2008) Edwin Mullhouse by Steven Millhauser. New York. 1972. Knopf. keywords: Literature America. 306 pages. Jacket design by Alice & Martin Provensen. 0394480090. September 1972.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Steven Millhauser's funny, beautiful, and magically illuminative novel of childhood is cast in the form of a dead-serious, indeed major, biography. It is the Definitive Life of a Great American Writer who died when he was eleven, told by his contemporary and lifelong friend It is organized, thanks to Jeffrey's impeccably neat mind, in three sections: The Early Years, The Middle Years, The Late Years. Thus we closely follow Edwin's development from his pre-verbal noises, scrupulously noted by his admiring biographer, through the long devotion to comic books and animated film that so profoundly influenced Edwin's life and works, to the climactic flowering of his literary genius in his remarkable novel, Cartoons. We are made privy to the influence of home and school, to his friendship with the great muralist Edward Penn who disappeared at age seven, to his obsessive love for Rose Dorn - blonde, imperious, impervious to the Valentines, verses, and 43 gifts with which he pursues her. His pained biographer provides, as well, a full account of Edwin's sudden attachment to his violent, almost wordless classmate, Arnold Hasselstrom; And as we enter Edwin's brilliantly productive Late Years, we are shown the sinister series of events leading inescapably to his foreseen death. A satire on biography, a portrait of the artist set entirely in childhood, a vision of childhood as a state of genius--all the elements of Steven Millhauser's wonderful novel work together to charm, to astonish, and to compel a rich rediscovery of the lost moment-to-moment content of childhood.

Steven Millhauser was born in 1943 in New York City and grew up in Connecticut. He received a B. A. from Columbia in 1965. In 1968 he entered the graduate school of Brown University.

 

 

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(09/05/2008) Julian by Gore Vidal. Boston. 1964. Little Brown. keywords: Literature America Ancient Rome. 503 pages. Jacket design by Ivan Chermayeff.

FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Julian the Apostate, nephew of Constantine the Great, was one of the brightest yet briefest lights in the history of the Roman Empire. A military genius on the level of Julius Caesar and Alexander the Great, a graceful and persuasive essayist, and a philosopher devoted to worshiping the gods of Hellenism, he became embroiled in a fierce intellectual war with Christianity that provoked his murder at the age of thirty-two, only four years into his brilliantly humane and compassionate reign.

 

 

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