Tuesday, June 22, 2010
NEW ARRIVALS: A Selection
M.F.K. Fisher, Serve It Forth
"In Serve It Forth, her first book, M. F. K. Fisher takes readers on an animated journey through culinary history, beginning with the honey-loving Greeks and the immoderate Romans. Fisher recalls a hunt for snails and truffles with one of the last adepts in that art and recounts how Catherine de Medici, lonely for home cooking, touched off a culinary revolution by bringing Italian chefs to France. Each essay makes clear the absolute firmness of Fisher's taste--contrarian and unique--and her skill at stirring memory and imagination into a potent brew."
"A delightful book. It is erudite and witty and experienced and young." -- The New York Times Book Review
"I do not know of any one in the United States who writes better prose." -- W.H. Auden
"M.F.K. Fisher is our greatest food writer because she puts food in the mount, the mind and the imagination all at the same time. Beyond the gastronomical bravura, she is a passionate woman; food is her metaphor." -- Shana Alexander
"Mrs. Fisher writes with enjoyment, which is clearly the first thing necessary in a book of this kind . . ." -- The Times Literary Supplement
"Poet of the appetites." -- John Updike
"She writes about fleeting tastes and feasts vividly, excitingly, sensuously, exquisitely. There is almost a wicked thrill in following her uninhibited track through the glories of the good life." -- James Beard
"Sometimes funny, sometimes sorrowful, always full of the rich juices of keenly felt life . . ." -- Clifton Fadiman
"The best prose writer in America." --W.H. Auden
"She writes about food as others do about love, but rather better."--Clifton Fadiman
"Poet of the appetites."--John Updike
"A monument."--Julia Child
"One of the world's finest food writers and, in the eyes of many, the grand dame of gastronomy."--James Villas
"M.F.K. Fisher ... brings onstage a peach or a brace of quail and shows us history, cities, fantasies, memories, emotions."--Patricia Storace, The New York Review of Books
"One of my great heroes."--Jacques Pepin
"A delightful book. It is erudite and witty and experienced and young."--The New York Times Book Review
David Foster Wallace, Infinite Jest
A gargantuan, mind-altering comedy about the Pursuit of Happiness in America Set in an addicts' halfway house and a tennis academy, and featuring the most endearingly screwed-up family to come along in recent fiction, Infinite Jest explores essential questions about what entertainment is and why it has come to so dominate our lives; about how our desire for entertainment affects our need to connect with other people; and about what the pleasures we choose say about who we are. Equal parts philosophical quest and screwball comedy, Infinite Jest bends every rule of fiction without sacrificing for a moment its own entertainment value. It is an exuberant, uniquely American exploration of the passions that make us human - and one of those rare books that renew the idea of what a novel can do.
Curzio Malaparte, Kaputt
"Curzio Malaparte was a disaffected supporter of Mussolini with a taste for danger and high living.
Sent by an Italian paper during World War II to cover the fighting on the Eastern Front, Malaparte secretly wrote this terrifying report from the abyss, which became an international bestseller when it was published after the war. Telling of the siege of Leningrad, of glittering dinner parties with Nazi leaders, and of trains disgorging bodies in war-devastated Romania, Malaparte paints a picture of humanity at its most depraved.
Kaputt is an insider’s dispatch from the world of the enemy that is as hypnotically fascinating as it is disturbing."
…a transcendent work about the admixture of high culture, bestial depravity and human sadism. Part autobiography and part fiction, it captures seemingly unfathomable history. No work has ever revealed more about the murderous blend of zeal and indifference that is fanaticism. Simultaneously mythic and wholly human, Kaputt haunts the reader forever.
— Wall Street Journal
Frank, glamorous and gruesome, Kaputt delivers a unique insider’s verdict on the damned elite of a damnable system.
— The Independent
Kaputt is a sad, astonishing, horrifying and lyrical book. It shows us the results of ideological fanaticism, racism, twisted values masquerading as spiritual purity, and the hatred of life, in their most personal and shameful aspects. It is essential for any human understanding of World War II.
— Margaret Atwood
[Kaputt] is like a report from the interior of Chernobyl. Malaparte had gotten very close to the radioactive core of the Axis Powers and somehow emerged to tell the tale, simultaneously humanizing things and rendering them even more chilling as a result….Required reading for every citizen of the Twentieth Century.
— Walter Murch
Jose Saramago, All The Names
Senhor José is a low-grade clerk in the city's Central Registry, where the living and the dead share the same shelf space. A middle-aged bachelor, he has no interest in anything beyond the certificates of birth, marriage, divorce, and death that are his daily preoccupations. In the evenings and on weekends, he works on bringing up to date his clipping file of the famous, the rising stars, the notorious. But when he comes across the birth certificate of an anonymous young woman, he decides that this cannot have been mere chance, that he has to discover more about her. Under the increasingly mystified eye of the Registrar, a godlike figure whose name is spoken only in whispers, the now obsessed Senhor José sets off to follow the thread that leads him to the unknown woman-but as he gets closer to a meeting with her, he discovers more about her, and about himself, than he would have wished.