NWPR Books

NWPR Books
11:57 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Superstorm Sandy Inspires Bleak, Poetic Landscapes In 'Let Me Be Frank'

Richard Ford won the Pulitzer Prize in 1996 for his novel Independence Day. His latest book takes his beloved hero, Frank Bascombe, into his sunset years.
Greta Rybus Courtesy of Harper Collins

It's such a goofy title. Let Me Be Frank with You is the latest installment in the odyssey of Frank Bascombe, the New Jersey Everyman Richard Ford introduced almost 30 years ago in his novel, The Sportswriter. Two more Frank Bascombe novels followed, and now this: a brilliant collection of four interconnected short stories of about 60 pages each in which Ford is indeed "being Frank" Bascombe with us once again, as well as being "frank" about all sorts of touchy topics in America, such as race, politics, the economy, old age and the oblivion that awaits us all.

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NWPR Books
2:41 am
Sun November 9, 2014

Will Self's 'Shark' Swims In A Chaotic Sea

Since the publication of his 2012 novel, Umbrella, Will Self has become a strong advocate for resurrecting modernist literature in the 21st century.

In a series of articles and public lectures, Self has pointed out that modernism never really got a foothold in English culture. In its place, he argues, has evolved a form of Anglo-Saxon realism that reeks of snobbish bourgeois values.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Sat November 8, 2014

Walking Through Light-Filled Rooms In 'Woman Without A Country'

Eavan Boland has authored numerous volumes of poetry, including In a Time of Violence, which was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize.
Kevin Casey W.W. Norton & Company

I've said before that a good collection of poetry — unlike, say, a good novel, or a good short story — is tricky to talk about. If I love a novel, I'll describe the plot, maybe compare it to the writing of others, talk about the successes and failures of its craft. Poetry collections, though — I just want to read portions out to people, make them feel what I felt, show them concretely the details over which I marveled.

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NWPR Books
3:30 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

For Political Junkies, A (Literary) Post-Election Fix

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 5:11 pm

As I watched coverage of this week's midterm elections, I couldn't help but think about Donald Antrim's surreal novel, Elect Mr. Robinson for a Better World.

The book, a brilliant and wickedly funny satire on our broken politics, unfolds in an unnamed American seaside town. As the story begins, our narrator, a former third-grade teacher named Pete Robinson, sits mysteriously in his padlocked attic, observing the wreckage of his community.

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NWPR Books
9:44 am
Thu November 6, 2014

In The World Of Rare Books, This Mystery Goes Off-Script

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Mysterious Press

Brief as his new novel may be, Bradford Morrow has no problems with taking his time. The fine mists of a seaside vista, the loops and lines of a writer's careful lettering, even the meals his characters eat (truly, just about every single one): None of it escapes the lingering eye of the narrator behind The Forgers. Each detail gets its due — except, of course, the ones he doesn't want you to see.

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NWPR Books
2:15 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

A Dizzying, Fictional 'History' Draws On Bob Marley's Life

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 7:23 am

As much as I wish it were different, Robert Nesta Marley is mainly known in the United States as the front man for smoking pot. Or, as a favorite subject for poster makers, who profit off college students searching for an identity. Students who associate the great dreadlocked one with good vibes.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Wed November 5, 2014

'Ugly Girls' Is, Well ... Not A Pretty Read

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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Perry, with her blond hair and long legs, is pretty. Baby Girl, with her shaved head and overdrawn lips, is ugly. Together they steal cars, shoplift, and ditch school — not knowing they are being watched by Jamey, an ex-felon posing as a teenage boy online. The girls begin to realize something is not right with Jamey, and the novel unfolds as you think it might, with flurries of attempted rapes and murders, screaming, vomit, death, and general chaos.

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NWPR Books
4:03 am
Tue November 4, 2014

'The Heart Does Not Grow Back' Could Use An Imagination Transfusion

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iStock

What would a young man's life be like if he suddenly found he could heal from any wound? It's a fantastic premise for a book, especially one as swift and easygoing as Fred Venturini's debut, The Heart Does Not Grow Back.

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NWPR Books
3:23 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Rebuilding A Broken Family 'In Plain Sight'

When Nuruddin Farah was a young writer, he published a satirical novel about Somalia, his native country. On his way home from a trip he called his brother, to ask for a ride from the airport. His brother told him not to come home: His novel had caused a stir, and authorities were looking for him.

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NWPR Books
7:03 am
Sat November 1, 2014

William Gibson Skypes The Future In 'The Peripheral'

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iStockphoto

There was a time when William Gibson was the man. When, if you were talking about science fiction, you couldn't have a conversation that didn't invoke his name. When, to readers of certain tastes and a certain (reasonably innocent) age, his futures were the ones that got woven into our DNA.

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