This best-selling and widely acclaimed sixth novel by David Mitchell is indeed an entertaining tour de force of imagination, of genre blending and innovation, of vivid, hyper-articulate, unforgettable characters both living and not exactly (some recurring from Mitchell’s earlier works), and of lovely, often enthralling language—but something more lingers months after first reading. The long arc of this compelling story deepens some of Mitchell’s recurring themes, including the heartbreaking certainties of luck and time running out, and the inevitable outcomes of choices guilt-ridden and guilt-free alike, personal and political—whether to create life and love, or to wage war, choose personal gain, and destroy it all. This is a book for our time, and it is no accident that it is also a very beautiful object, by the acclaimed book designer Peter Mendelsund (see the monographs on his book designs in the art section and behind the cash registers).
Don’t be daunted by the size and weight or length, literally, of this superb collection of essays by one of the wittiest, most learned writers working today. Pick it up at any moment of leisure, open it to any random page, and simply dive in to become part of some of the most delightful, amusing, intelligent conversation that you will enjoy all week, whether in your bath, in your bed, or at the local café. The time will float by and your mental and emotional state will be the better for it, scrubbed clean of trivialities, and fortified by Hornby’s incisive humor and cleverness, and the infinite variety of the wider world.
Recently winning the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction (whose previous winners include Don DeLillo, Philip Roth, and Cormac McCarthy), Louise Erdrich—poet, novelist, memoirist, children’s author, and independent bookstore owner—has established a body of work that few writers can hope to approach. In Shadow Tag, a semi-autobiographical novel, Erdrich writes compassionately but unflinchingly about the many uses and abuses of power and creativity. The harrowing family drama follows the deeply flawed efforts of a husband and wife, artists and intellectuals in Minneapolis, to forge an identity out of their collapsing marriage and the complexities of their Native American heritage, and of their three poignantly drawn children to survive their parents’ passions.