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Claire Messud

(Photo by Phil Bray)

Warm Mountain

It has been nine years since Charles Frazier’s greatly acclaimed and wildly successful debut, Cold Mountain — a novel read and admired not only by fiction lovers but by readers more given to reading history. Thirteen Moons, his long-awaited second book, is in many respects the natural successor to that......
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Sticks and Bones

Donald Antrim’s mother, Louanne, died in August 2000, a mere year after her own mother’s death, in Black Mountain, North Carolina, a place to which she had returned after the death of her father in 1995. Louanne Antrim’s demise, at the relatively young age of 65, was caused by lung......
David Miitchell

Bildungsromanesque

Fans of David Mitchell’s challenging and complex fiction will be surprised, perhaps, by the comparatively small scale and straightforward narrative of his new novel, Black Swan Green, which follows on the heels of his wildly acclaimed Cloud Atlas. That novel, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, is made up of six......
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Dark Irony

Photo by Anne FishbeinIt is almost impossible to write about this book — especially now. Joan Didion’s memoir, spare and wholly unsentimental, recounts the events surrounding and following the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne, from a heart attack, on December 30, 2003. At the time, their daughter and......
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The Kinks

Illustration by Ronald KurniawanA long time ago, when I was in college, I asked a friend — not an especially close one, mind you — if he thought I was weird. My voice doubtless betrayed both anxiety and eagerness. He paused, then replied rather wearily, “So maybe you’re a bit......
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Past Tense

Photo by Joyce RavidThe two protagonists of Nicole Krauss’ new novel could not, in some ways, be further apart. Leo Gursky, an 80-year-old Holocaust survivor from a Polish village and retired locksmith living in New York, fills his days with the minutiae of survival and fears his imminent solitary death:......
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