The Snows of Yesteryear

An ember among the cinders of a bygone empire, Gregor von Rezzori's The Snows of Yesteryear is a memoir that doesn't lack for the emotional and observational reticulations proper to a classic novel. In the telling of his story, the renowned author of Memoirs of an Anti-Semite leans less on the blunt scythe of chronology than on the "fine-webbed ramifications" suited to an impressionistic imagination. Born close to the outset of the First World War in Czernowitz, Bukovina (now Chernovtsy, Ukraine), a region that in his lifetime (1914-98) passed from the ownership of the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Romania to the Soviet Union, Rezzori came to manhood in an unsettled household. He lived amid eccentric personalities like his mother, who forbade her children to sit on the ground lest "vapors emanating from the soil" induce "infant paralysis," and his wet-nurse, an illiterate woman who conversed in a hodgepodge of languages, whose linguistic idiosyncrasies sprouted "newly minted with every sentence." Like weathervanes of history, the erratic fortunes of his family mark the currents that blew throughout Europe during the first half of the 20th century. The life-giving kernel of this book is summed up in Rezzori's observation that "where unrest leads to grief and grief gives rise to lament, poetry blossoms."

July 26: On this day in 1602 "A booke called the Revenge of Hamlett Prince Denmarke" was entered in the Stationers' Register by printer James Robertes.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).