11 New Books We Recommend This Week


great mistake, by Jonathan Lee (Knopf, $26.95.) Lee’s new novel is about the life and unusual death of Andrew Haswell Greene, who was murdered in front of his Park Avenue home in 1903, when he was 83. Green is no longer remembered much, despite the fact that he was an integral force. Building Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and other postcard destinations in the city. The book’s chapters toggle between Green’s biography and the investigation into his murder. Our reviewer John Williams writes, “Lea’s fantasy of Green’s childhood on a struggling Massachusetts farm has the exact same emotional contours.” “The achievement of the book is less for us to ‘see’ it, like some kind of historical hologram, than for us to live in it.”

Better to go to: Exploring love, death and utopia in Auroville, Akash Kapoor did it. (Scribner, $27.) This profound memoir by a man who grew up in an intentional community in India and returned to live there with his wife and children is a sensitive excavation of sinister family history as well as a philosophical meditation on the utopian impulse. Amy Waldman writes in her review, “A haunting, heart-wrenching story, deeply researched and told clearly, with almost painful emotional honesty.” “I wanted to read ‘Better to Have Gone’ because I found it too amusing; I didn’t want to read it because I found it too disturbing. The image that came to mind again and again was that of a human against the rocks of hard faith. Life had to be dashed.”

What a strange paradise by Omar Al Akkad. (Knopf, $26.) El Akkad’s second novel examines the opposing sides of a migrant crisis from the point of view of two children: a boy who washes up on an island after the passage of a wrecked ship, and the girl who takes him inside and keeps him safe. tries to do. In a gracious yet nuanced story, the novel effectively debunks notions of superiority and inferiority, good and evil. “This extraordinary book conveys a message,” wrote Wendell Stevenson in his review, “not of a frivolous and worn-out hope, but of a more universal humanism, the dreadful idea that, ultimately, there is no particular difference between us. is, that in fact we are all very much in the same boat.”

shirley jackson’s letter, Edited by Lawrence Jackson Hyman in consultation with Bernice M. Murphy. (Random House, $35.) Collected by his son, the author’s letters reveal that he had not one but two official identities, and seemed to be polar opposites, with funky, humorous accounts of life at home and the darker, more esoteric ways of his famous novel. used to switch between. Laura Miller wrote in her review, “One would expect Jackson’s personal writing to express a more unified sense of self.” Some of the letters in this collection were written to a fan who shared Jackson’s taste in books, and “it is only in reading these letters,” says Miller, “that it becomes clear how lonely Jackson was. Her confessions and enthusiasm come across as if she’s a teenager who has finally found a best friend.”

Build your house around my body, by Violet Kupersmith. (Random House, $27.) The novel, a roughly half-Vietnamese American in Vietnam, is preoccupied with the body and its violations – the sexual trauma experienced by the female characters and both the colonial occupation and Vietnam’s war on the body. “It’s a big, packed novel,” wrote Alexis Skatkin in her review. “Reading this provides a sensation unlike riding a motorbike full of passengers and goods: it squeaks, it squeaks and sometimes I wonder if it will reach its destination without accident. But Kupersmith Proves himself to be a fearless driver who enjoys the daunting challenge he sets for himself. There are many ways this novel could have lost its balance; instead, much of it is a thrilling read, filled with acrobatics and poetry. “



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