Sunday, August 4, 2013

New Books for August

Archangel
Andrea Barrett
W.W. Norton, $24.95
224 pp.


Norton's blurb describes this as a collection of five short stories about the science world's adaptation to the discoveries of the twentieth century, and the emotional life surrounding scientific discovery. I haven't read any of her other fiction, but the sales pitch piqued my interest.

The Double Life of Paul de Man
Evelyn Barish
W.W. Norton, $35
480 pp.

This looks like a final, exhaustive treatment of Paul de Man's shady wartime life, the logistics of his rise through the academy, and the relationship of those things to his work, that might rise among the scattered innuendoes and aspersions in so many brief essays. And if it isn't that, then hopefully at least it will be entertaining.
An Inquiry into Modes of Existence 
Bruno Latour
Harvard U.P., $39.95
466 pp.

Ostensibly derived from the project laid out in this video, this sounds like it might be an interesting way to approach the problem of what makes modernity unique—if there is such a thing—by way of an attempt to build a new idea in social theory.
F
Franz Wright
Knopf, $26.95
160 pp.

It is strange that the publicity materials for this book seem to be marketing the author's own death. That said, it promises to be a wide-ranging and wintry inquiry into a self-consciously "late" object for contemplation—ground of Tennyson and Eliot and Snodgrass, maybe something like Julian Barnes's book Nothing to Be Afraid Of, approached through verse. Or not—in fact, probably better if it's its own creature. But I would like to see how Wright has developed the vein of writing he opens so achingly in a poem like "Thoughts of a Solitary Farmhouse."