Ashenden

A tale of an English estate -- and those who cherish, neglect, and covet it.

 

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Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

A critic looks back at her favorite read of the year.

 

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Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens

Their father was universally beloved, but growing up Dickens led, more often than not, to hard times.

 

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The Watchers

The network of spies and secret police that kept Good Queen Bess in power.

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Commander: The Life and Exploits of Britain's Greatest Frigate Captain

The unsung deeds of a hero of the Royal Navy.

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Escape Velocity: A Charles Portis Miscellany

The True Grit author's short work reveals the range of an inimitable and hilarious American voice.

 

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Lucky Jim and The Old Devils

The alpha and omega of a comic novelist's oeuvre.

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Darkness on the Prairie

Reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's surprisingly dark American epic.

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Enthusiasms

A historian goes on the hunt for the details of literary lives most of us overlook.

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The Greatest Game

Two new books unveil the work of the double agents who ran circles around the Nazis.

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Harry Lipkin, Private Eye

A geriatric gumshoe takes the case.

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Long Time, No See

A vision of a prelapsarian Ireland, circa 2006, where old and new exist together in serenity.

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Beautiful Ruins

A tale of manipulation, fame, love and fate crossing half a century centers on an Italian village and the making of a Hollywood epic.

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The Mansion of Happiness: A History of Life and Death

Playing games with the meaning of life -- and the inevitability of its final turn.

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Our Lady of Alice Bhatti

The chaos of a Karachi hospital mirrors a nation pulled in multiple directions.

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Bring Up the Bodies

In the sequel to her novel Wolf Hall, a novelist continues her exploration of the enigmatic man at the heart of Tudor intrigues.

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The Cove

War threatens a remote recess in North Carolina's Appalachia.

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Open Season: Baseball Books of 2012

Tradition and revolution, friendship and bitter enmity, on the diamond and in the clubhouse.

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Another Time, Another Life: The Story of a Crime

Murder, terrorism, and corruption at the heart of the Swedish state are knotted at the center of Leif GW Persson's novel.

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Coral Glynn

A tale of love, loneliness, and the mysteries of an English mansion reaches back to the gothic novels of the past.

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Lonely Monsters

In honor of the centenary of Elizabeth Taylor's birth, two novels that showcase the author's gift for crafting comedies of manners with troubling undertones.

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At Last

The final volume in the author's celebrated Patrick Melrose cycle faces pain with wit and unflinching honesty.

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The Orphan Master's Son

The story of a professional kidnapper's life takes on a surreal edge in the appropriately nightmarish world of North Korea.

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A Good Man

Courage and slaughter, dreams and betrayals, in the shadow of Little Bighorn.

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The Sisters Brothers

Patrick deWitt's blackly comic western outdraws the competition.

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An Honourable Englishman: The Life of Hugh Trevor-Roper

The career of a legendary scholar, historian, and "academic pugilist."

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Tides of War

Historical fiction set during the Napoleonic Wars.

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Charles Dickens: A Life

The complicated man behind the literary myth.

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Masscult and Midcult

A new collection revives the voice of the most trenchant cultural critics of the twentieth century.

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Sweet Invention: A History of Dessert

How sugared fish begat the ice cream sundae.

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About the Columnist
Katherine A. Powers received the 2013 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing from the National Book Critics Circle. She is the editor of Suitable Accommodations: An Autobiographical Story of Family Life: The Letters of J. F. Powers, 1942–1963.

April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.