Cathleen Schine’s new novel, They May Not Mean To, But They Do, was published in June. (July 2016)

IN THE REVIEW

Weiner!

Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin at the press conference announcing his intention to stay in New York’s mayoral race despite new revelations about his explicit text messages to women sent after a similar scandal in 2011 that had forced him to resign from Congress, New York City, July 23, 2013

Weiner

a documentary film directed by Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg
Anthony Weiner is a secret everyman. He was seen as a hero, then a fallen hero, then a hero for redeeming himself by acknowledging his weakness and getting back into the ring. He captured the political imagination of New Yorkers with this narrative. But nobody likes a fool, least of all New Yorkers, and Anthony Weiner made a fool of himself.

‘Enthralling & Enraging’

Sigmund Freud in his consulting room, Vienna, 1937

A Gushing Fountain

by Martin Walser, translated from the German by David Dollenmayer

My Marriage

by Jakob Wassermann, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
Two recently translated autobiographical German novels—both about becoming a writer—are deeply unsettling. Martin Walser’s A Gushing Fountain begins in 1933; Jakob Wassermann’s My Marriage appeared in 1934. Now forgotten, Wassermann was a celebrated writer of the early twentieth century who came of age in the nineteenth. Walser is an important …

A Girl, a Horse, a Trap

Mary Gaitskill at the Brooklyn Book Festival, September 2010

The Mare

by Mary Gaitskill
The Mare, Mary Gaitskill’s new novel, is the story of a girl and a horse. It grapples with innocence, possibility, and hope. It is about what happens after all her other books. Gaitskill achieved literary notoriety with Bad Behavior, her first volume of short stories, published in 1988. Her beautiful, …

‘A Beautiful, Mournful Novel’

Atticus Lish, Sunset Park, Brooklyn, November 2014

Preparation for the Next Life

by Atticus Lish
Preparation for the Next Life, by Atticus Lish, is an astounding first novel about a world so large there is, sometimes, nowhere to go; a world so small the people in it, sometimes, get lost. The book has the boundless, epic exhilaration you expect to find only in a writer as mighty as, say, Walt Whitman.

A Triumph of Love

Marilynne Robinson, 2012

Lila

by Marilynne Robinson
In her new novel, Lila, Marilynne Robinson has written a deeply romantic love story embodied in the language and ideas of Calvinist doctrine. She really is not like any other writer. She really isn’t. Her literary career certainly does not resemble anyone else’s. Over the last thirty-four years, she has …

NYR DAILY

In the Dark of the Museum

Alaskan Brown Bear, 1980

The rooms that hold the Museum of Natural History’s famous dioramas are vast and dimly lit. What happens in the darkness of the museum itself is quite different from the stillness of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s new book, Dioramas, a collection of his elegant black and white photographs of dioramas.

The Irresistible Charms of Maira Kalman

Maira Kalman: New York, Grand Central Station, 1999

Last Christmas, I gave my mother a copy of The Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman. Like many other adult Maira Kalmanites, I had discovered the book when it ran as an illustrated blog on The New York Times web site. My mother and I have similar taste in books so I thought she would love it. But a few days later, she called me, quite agitated, irate even, saying “What is this bizarre book you gave me? The letters go all over the page. It’s like a children’s book. What on earth gave you the idea I would want to read this?” An hour later, she called back. “Just forget what I said. I just had to get used to it. What a wonderful book!”

Austenolatry

Miniature portrait of Jane Austen, 19th century

I met a friend for lunch the other day at The Morgan Library. In honor of their Jane Austen exhibit, they are serving a Regency lunch. Whenever I hear the word Regency, I think not of Jane Austen, but of Dickens’s Old Mr. Turveydrop, celebrated everywhere for his Deportment, who named his son Prince. I don’t know if Old Mr. Turveydrop would have approved, but we thought it was a delicious Regency lunch—Poached Atlantic Salmon, Fricassee of Macomber Turnips & Mushrooms, Mustard Greens, Baked Apple Cobbler—though what exactly about the menu qualified as Regency is somewhat obscure. The turnips? I have never eaten more delicious turnips. I happily imagined Jane Austen eating delicate, sweet Macomber turnips, too. But at home, after a little on-line research, I came to realize how unlikely it is that she did—Macomber turnips seem to be a cross breed of radishes and rutabagas developed by the two Macomber brothers in Westport, Massachussetts in 1876.

NYR CALENDAR

Bach’s Christmas Oratorio

Musica Angelica, the wonderful Baroque ensemble for which traffic-averse early music lovers on the west side of Los Angeles are eternally grateful because they are so good and because they are not downtown, is performing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio.