• forthcoming

Best Friends Forever

Coming in May is a new work in a genre I particularly love: books by scholars whose broader interests happily distract them from finishing their dissertations. Daisy Hay's engrossing Young Romantics is a "group biography" of one of those powerhouse collections of intellect and imagination that comes along every so often: in this case, the circle of early-19th-Century writers that included Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley, Lord Byron, John Keats, and Leigh Hunt. Read more...

  • forthcoming

Summer of The Thousand Autumns

After enjoying the narrative fireworks on display in Cloud Atlas, Ghostwritten, Number9Dream and Black Swan Green, I've been primed for news of David Mitchell's next novel. I recently learned that The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, set (like Number9Dream) in Japan -- but this time in late 18th century -- is slated to appear in June, and now an excerpt has been posted by Random House. Here's a sample:

Dr Maeno addresses the chamberlain: ‘To help save Miss Kawasemi’s life, I must disregard the Magistrate’s orders and join the midwife inside the curtain.’

Chamberlain Tomine is caught in a dangerous quandary.

‘You may blame me,’ Maeno suggests, ‘for disobeying the Magistrate.’

‘The choice is mine,’ decides the chamberlain. ‘Do what you must, Doctor.’

The spry old man crawls under the muslin, holding his curved tongs.

When the maid sees the foreign contraption, she exclaims in alarm.

‘ “Forceps”,’ the doctor replies, with no further explanation.

The housekeeper lifts the muslin to see. ‘No, I don’t like the look of that! Foreigners may chop, slice and call it “medicine”, but it is quite unthinkable that—’

‘Do I advise the housekeeper,’ growls Maeno, ‘on where to buy fish?’

Click here to read the full excerpt. We're looking forward to more.

-BILL TIPPER Read more...

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..."

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