Colum McCann

Colum McCann writes:

"There are so many good books coming out these days that I feel compelled not to fall back on the classics. The following are just three of the many great ones that have come along already this year."





The Flamethrowers
By Rachel Kushner

"This is one of the most thrilling and high-octane literary experiences I have had in a decade, especially in the first one hundred pages. Kushner has the ability to suggest in a single sentence the whole texture of an era. She dwells primarily in the art world of the 1970s, though the book has obvious ramifications for today: wherever we were then is wherever we are now. DeLillo echoes here, as does Doctorow, as does Carey. Kushner is an extraordinary talent, committed to landscape and life and language. I'd walk five hundred miles for her next book." 


Southern Cross the Dog
By Bill Cheng

"True enough, Bill Cheng was my student at Hunter College in New York. And true enough, Southern Cross the Dog was his thesis project. But, all personal links aside, it's really one of the best books of the year. It's beautifully written, tough, evocative, assured, full of rhythm and style. You can feel the blues leaking out the edges of the pages: they fill the room. The story concerns the journey of Robert Chatham, who takes off on an epic journey after the Mississippi flood of 1927. And what a cast of characters -- dam builders, swamp dwellers, hookers, hustlers, seers, visionaries...Southern Cross the Dog has it all. This book has been chosen by Barnes & Noble for their Discover Great New Writers program: it's easy to see why." 


The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells
By Andrew Sean Greer

"Any book by the author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli and The Story of a Marriage is going to be an occasion to celebrate and savor. Andy Sean Greer is one of the great stylists of our literary times: he has the intelligence to match the style. In this novel he works in an incredibly acrobatic manner to weave in three stories that move effortlessly in time. Greta Wells finds herself transported to the lives she might have had if she had been born in three different eras. It's a mediation on the clock of our souls and the meaning on transience." 


April 21: " 'Pull' includes 'invitations to tea' at which one hears smiling reminders that a better life is available to people who stop talking about massacres..."

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…

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.