Saturday, January 4, 2014

New books in January

Howard Eiland and Michael Jennings
Walter Benjamin: A Critical Life
Harvard University Press
704 pp.

Blurb: “Here, for the first time, is a thorough, reliable, non-tendentious, and fully developed account of Benjamin’s life and the sources of his work. This is by far the best biography of Benjamin that has yet appeared” (Peter Fenves, Northwestern University).

Chang-Rae Lee
On Such a Full Sea
336 pp.

From Riverhead: "In a future, long-declining America, society is strictly stratified by class. Long-abandoned urban neighborhoods have been repurposed as highwalled, self-contained labor colonies. And the members of the labor class—descendants of those brought over en masse many years earlier from environmentally ruined provincial China—find purpose and identity in their work to provide pristine produce and fish to the small, elite, satellite charter villages that ring the labor settlement."

Brutus at Julius Caesar 4.3: 
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves
Or lose our ventures.
Rachel Louise Snyder
What We've Lost Is Nothing: A Novel
21 January 2014 
Scribner, $25
320 pp.

From the novel: 
A garden-variety home invasion wouldn’t have boosted Mary’s social capital, but one element of the story had spread through the halls before the first bell even rang. During the burglary Mary Elizabeth had been home.
She fielded a flurry of questions between classes.
Mary, were you scared?
Not really.
Did you see them?
Did you hear them break the door down?
Where were you when they came in?
Dining room. Under the table.
Wasn’t it, like, during school? Didn’t you cut class?
Wink, smirk.

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