October 31: "His mother was a man-hungry teenager; his father -- one could never be sure -- an innkeeper on the make. Their eldest son, the school bully, grew into a dandy who dressed like Lord Byron, scrawled bawdy rhymes, burned himself with gonorrhea and tried to cure himself with mercury."
October 29: "I learned from the age of two or three that any room in our house, at any time of the day, was there to read in, or to be read to. [My mother] read to me in the big bedroom in the mornings, when we were in her rocker together, which ticked in rhythm as we rocked, as though we had a cricket accompanying the story."
Jerome Charyn's fiftieth book may be his best. Abraham Lincoln, known to his contemporaries as a man who loved to tell a good story, steps down from history's pedestal to narrate his improbable career with wit and charm. A bravura act of literary ventriloquism.
The name Eliot Ness and his struggles to bring down Al Capone have passed into the annals of pop heroism via "The Untouchables." But Douglas Perry's biography reveals the less glamorous -- yet no less thrilling -- truth behind the crimefighting myth.
Hassan Blasim offers his first-hand account of contemporary Iraq, in surreal short stories alive with awe, empathy, and a native son's vantage point.