A Glowing Review Leads the Day | Book Pulse

The Maze at Windermere by Gregory Blake Smith gets a rave review. The First Amendment gets coverage.


Glowing Review

Ron Charles, editor of The Washington Post’s Book World, reviews The Maze at Windermere by Gregory Blake Smith (Viking: LJ stars), calling it “staggeringly brilliant” and writing it “luxuriates in [the] demarcations of time. It is an extraordinary demonstration of narrative dexterity. Moving up and down through the strata of history, Smith captures the ever-changing refractions of human desire…. Looking up from this remarkable novel, one has an eerie sense of history as a process of continuous erasure and revision. You’ll start The Maze of Windermere with bewilderment, but you’ll close it in awe.”

First Amendment

John Sargent, head of Macmillan, has a Q&A with the NYT on the efforts by President Trump to stop the publication of Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff (Holt). In the interview Sargent says “it is actually hard to conceive that a sitting president of the United States would issue a cease-and-desist order, because it is extraordinarily unconstitutional” and continues that as a publisher it is “culturally important to the country…that we defend the principles of the First Amendment.”

All the attention, and the size of the initial print run, has created a logjam. NYT reports that the publisher “initially planned a first printing of 150,000 copies, now has received orders for more than a million books. The e-book has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and the audiobook has sold in the low six figures.” The LA Times reports “Amazon is advising customers that orders for the book will be fulfilled ‘within 2 to 4 weeks,’ while Barnes and Noble says it expects to ship orders on Jan. 19. Demand for the book has affected brick-and-mortar bookstores as well, with retailers either selling out…or still waiting to receive copies…from distributors.” Libraries across the country are having trouble getting print copies too.

The NYT also reports that the ban against The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (New Press) has been lifted at two prisons in New Jersey after the ACLU of New Jersey protested its suppression.

Briefly Noted

The NYT‘s Dwight Garner reviews Winter by Ali Smith (Pantheon: Random House), calling it “an insubordinate folk tale, with echoes of the fiction of Iris Murdoch and Angela Carter, that plays out against a world gone wrong.” Heaping praise upon Smith he writes “there are few writers on the world stage who are producing fiction this offbeat and alluring.” He likes Winter not as much as her earlier novel Autumn, but urges, “Read it anyway.”

Author William Giraldi reviews A Girl in Exile: Requiem for Linda B. by Ismail Kadare, translated by John Hodgson (Counterpoint) for The Washington Post, calling it a “bantam masterwork by Albania’s most eminent novelist…[a] mellifluous fever dream [that] is a portrait of madness: the madness of the Stalinist state and the madness of men and women in the clamp of the state’s machinations.” The paper also reviews books on Ezra Pound and Picasso and considers The Road Not Taken: Edward Lansdale and the American Tragedy in Vietnam by Max Boot ( Liveright: W.W. Norton: LJ stars), calling it “judicious and absorbing, if not fully convincing.”

The Washington Post reviews Woman at 1,000 Degrees by Hallgrímur Helgason, translated by Brian FitzGibbon (Algonquin), writing “what a story it is, one worth reading to further understand the complexity of World War II—and to enjoy the quick wit of a woman you won’t forget.”

USA Today has a list of “10 big books to kick off 2018” including a new biography on Meghan Markle, timed to reap the wedding buzz.

The paper also reviews Tell Me More: Stories About the 12 Hardest Things I’m Learning to Say by Kelly Corrigan (Random House), saying “Corrigan is an excellent writer who knows how to tell a great story while adeptly weaving in conversational approaches that she, and most of us, never fully embraced or maybe lost track of over the years.”

Sloane Crosley picks some books to read in February for Vanity Fair.

The BAFTA nominations have been announced. Book-related nods include those for Call Me By Your Name, Blade Runner 2049, Paddington 2, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, Molly’s Game, and The Death of Stalin.

The Man Booker Prize will now be open to Irish publishers.

The Guardian has a literary calendar too. Note that publication dates will not always match the U.S. pub. date.

Authors on Air: The trailer for Red Sparrow is out. Based on the novel by Jason Matthews, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence. A tie-in edition publishes on Feb. 20. The film premieres March 2.

Town & Country reports on Outlander season four, based on Drums of Autumn. The article includes images of the pups that will play Ian’s dog Rollo.

The Washington Post looks at Philip K. Dick and the new TV show based on his short stories. The NYT writes about the show as well.

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