Paula Fox has won numerous prizes, including a PEN award for her memoir Borrowed Finery. Her latest book, News from the World: Stories and Essays, was published in April. (June 2011)

Love and Murder in Witless Bay

Howard Norman, East Calais, Vermont, 2000
When you read a novel by Howard Norman, you enter into a very particular world. That of course is one of the oldest pleasures novels afford. You lived for a while with Robinson Crusoe on his island as his only companion. Narratives before Defoe were episodes loosely strung together. Shakespeare’s plays are “worldly” in the sense we mean; Samuel Beckett’s aren’t. The sense of being in a world requires something more than immediacy. With Henry James’s novels you are in the close atmosphere of the personal relations of a couple, a group, a circle. A world needs defining limits.

Light on the Dark Side

L. J. Davis at his former town house, Brooklyn, April 2009
One Manhattan mid-morning in the spring of 1967, I heard the crack of a gun going off below, along the broad reach of Central Park West. I jumped up from the table where I was working on my second novel and looked down five stories to the street, on the …