- ISBN-13: 9781476747248
- ISBN-10: 1476747245
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster
- Publish Date: November 2014
- Page Count: 357
- Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.55 x 0.91 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.73 pounds
Book clubs: Portrait of the artist
Siri Hustvedt’s mesmerizing novel, The Blazing World, was longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, and it’s easy to see why. Artist Harriet Burden, heroine of the narrative, stirs up controversy in the New York cultural scene when she enlists three men to pose as the masterminds behind three of her own installations. Tired of being overlooked as an artist, Harriet is determined to attract some attention. But the stunt takes an unfortunate turn when one of her enlistees—a man named Rune—double-crosses her. Alas for Harriet, Rune has many important people backing him, including reviewers and critics, and she soon has big trouble on her hands. What transpires between the two of them—including a strange death—makes for hypnotic reading. This suspenseful story is recounted in part through Harriet’s journal entries. Detractors of her art, as well as admirers and family members, also have a say in this multifaceted story. Hustvedt’s skillful shifts in point-of-view add complexity to a masterful novel about the hazards of letting life and art overlap.
LOSSES AND LAMENTS
In Bark, her first crop of stories since the acclaimed collection Birds of America (1998), Lorrie Moore delivers more of her wit, wisdom and trademark verbal precision. In these eight stories, she takes on inexhaustible topics like relationships, the experience of aging and the challenges of dealing with change. “Debarking” follows the freshly divorced Ira as he starts to date again—a bewildering experience that makes him question himself and the state of the world. In “Wings,” a pair of has-been musicians try to pick up the pieces of their failed lives and move forward. Part ghost story, part lament for a lost connection, “The Juniper Tree” features a teacher who’s mourning a dead friend. Rich in its examination of the human condition, this collection is one to savor. Moore is an expert at pinpointing what motivates both genders and articulating the interior worlds of her characters. With both short pieces and relatively longer works, this perceptive, timely book offers something for every reader.
TOP PICK FOR BOOK CLUBS
Anna Quindlen’s Still Life with Bread Crumbs is a funny, romantic novel about a woman surprised by love. At the age of 60, Rebecca Winter, a once-celebrated photographer who’s struggling to make ends meet, finds herself in the midst of some big transitions. No longer able to afford her New York City apartment, she relocates to an upstate cabin where she encounters crazy raccoons and enthusiastic hunters. Stimulated by her new surroundings, Rebecca begins taking pictures. When she befriends Jim Bates, a roofer and avid bird watcher, her life takes yet another unexpected turn. Jim tags along during her photography excursions, making the shift to rural life more intriguing than she ever thought possible. Quindlen has written a charming and poignant narrative that will resonate with readers of all ages. It’s a timeless, never-say-never tale about rolling with life’s changes and discovering the art that lies in everyday existence.