Books & Fiction

Paul Theroux Goes East of Suez in ‘Burma Sahib’

Lee Polevoi

At the outset of Burma Sahib, the new novel by esteemed travel writer Paul Theroux, a woman and her husband aboard the ship Herefordshire take an interest in another passenger—a young man standing at the bow looking out to the sea. Who is he? Where is he going?

The Story of a Country’s Descent Into Dictatorship in Paul Lynch’s ‘Prophet Song’

Lee Polevoi

For many readers, the story of a democratic country's descent into dictatorship requires no great leap of imagination. Lynch makes no reference to how this situation came to pass, but the novel’s premise seems altogether plausible.

Irish Life is Bleak and Treacherous in ‘The End of The World is a Cul de Sac’

Lee Polevoi

Louise Kennedy (author of an acclaimed novel, Trespasses) writes beautifully about the Irish and their tumultuous inner lives. In the story, “Hunter-Gatherers,” Siobhán’s fascination with a hare in her backyard turns sour when her lover Sid abruptly puts an end to the wild creature’s life. “In Silhouette” traces a line from the present-day Irish countryside to the Troubles of the 1980s.

New Book Offers Humorous Take on Younger Generation’s Views on Wealth

Glenn R. Miller

On the tree-lined stretch of stately condos and apartment buildings, the structure that had technically been in my possession since 7:37 p.m. two weeks ago Tuesday—the determined hour and minute my father suffered his heart attack—announced itself like Dad invariably did when entering into any setting: loudly, with exuberance, and flashing money.

Traveling Through Space at Lightning Speed in Samantha Harvey’s ‘Orbital’

Lee Polevoi

At times crew members engage in philosophical discussions, where fundamental questions are asked. What does it mean for our planet to be—presumably—the only one to sustain life in this galaxy and galaxies beyond? What does it mean if we’re not the only such life-form? Harvey also brilliantly captures the air of camaraderie these men and women depend upon to survive.

In ‘Searching for Patty Hearst,’ Roger D. Rapoport Draws on His Extensive Reporting on the Case

Roger D. Rapoport

Award-winning film producer, publisher, author, and investigative journalist Roger Rapoport has covered the Patty Hearst story for half a century. He has written for the Chicago Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, San Jose Mercury News, The Independent (UK) and the San Francisco Chronicle. His magazine articles have been published in Harper’s, The Atlantic, Esquire and Mother Jones.

Finding Nature in a Half-Acre of Ground in ‘The Comfort of Crows’

Lee Polevoi

At the same time, the author is keenly aware of our dire political and climate conditions. She strives mightily to resist the bad feelings these situations engender: “Too often I feel I am living in a country I no longer recognize, a country determined to imperil every principle I hold dear and many of the people I love, too. Immersing myself in the natural world of my own backyard … is the way I cope with whatever I think I cannot bear.”

A Look at the Best Books of 2023 and Other Favorites

Lee Polevoi

Fiona MacFarlane’s debut novel, The Sun Walks Down, takes place over the course of a week. With each passing day, the search for Denny Wallace grows more agonizing, for the citizens of Fairly and for the reader. The story moves without a bump among a teeming cast of characters, landing squarely on their passions and their sense of impending doom

Burkhard Bilger’s Discovery of a War Criminal in the Family in ‘Fatherland’

Lee Polevoi

Soon after the liberation of France, Karl Gönner (called “Karl” throughout the book) was charged with ordering the execution of a villager aligned with the Resistance. A series of investigations followed, leading—many years later—to Karl’s official exoneration (though even that label was later rescinded by a German investigative committee.

Uncontacted Tribe Lives Far off the Grid in ‘The Last Island’

Lee Polevoi

Those of us in the hyper-connected world—that is, just about all other beings around the world—have, it seems, a perverse fascination with tribes who repudiate all contact with the outside world or are justifiably fearful of external contamination. It’s almost impossible to imagine a life devoid (or blessedly relieved) of modern “conveniences.”


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