Kill All Your Darlings: Pieces 1990-2005

The last Luciferian doom-spiral of Rudy Giuliani?s presidential campaign, its crashing and its burning in the swamps of Florida, will have likely been greeted with a growl of approval and a raised glass in the household of Luc Sante. For this ex-New Yorker, who came of age as a writer in the fertile wreckage of pre-Giuliani Manhattan, the city?s former mayor was a killjoy and an empty vessel; even Rudy?s heavily-retailed heroism on 9/11 was a sort of historical trompe d?oeil. "He played the part of embattled leader rather well," writes Sante in "The Sea-Green Incorruptible," one of the essays collected here, "the enormity at hand being sufficient to make his choleric personality seem reasonable by contrast." Only Sante could pull off a line like that. In literary terms he is a missing link, the quiet powerhouse of his style incorporating the old New Yorks of Joseph Mitchell and Elizabeth Hardwick with the perceptual rigors and penetrations of 70s/80s punk rock. Whether grouching through Woodstock ?99 like a droll pessimist uncle, or flaneuring in the fringes of a squatter riot in Tompkins Square Park; whether writing about Victor Hugo or Bob Dylan, Tintin or heroin, Sante surveys the matter at hand with undefeated elegance. "Kill all your darlings," said William Faulkner. "Murder your darlings," said Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch. "Read over your compositions," said Dr. Johnson, "and when you meet a passage which you think is particularly fine, strike it out." Vanities mastered, tics unwound, hobbyhorses put out to pasture: is it possible? If you?re Luc Sante, it appears to be very possible indeed.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.