John Lennon - The Life. Philip Norman. HarperCollins, 2009 (First edition 2008).
Philip Norman has already written a definitive biography of the world famous British pop band The Beatles. Now, he has turned his talent and attention to the Beatle for whom belonging to the adored pop group was never enough. Drawing on previously untapped sources and with unprecedented access to the book’s major characters, including Paul McCartney, Lennon’s son Sean and producer George Martin, Norman spent three years conducting research before writing this exhaustive portrayal of a complex personality and artist.
The Crimes of Love. The Marquis de Sade. Oxford World’s Classics, Oxford University Press, 2008 (First issue 2005).
Psychologically astute and defiantly unconventional, these stories show Sade at his best. Murder, seduction and incest are among the cruel rewards for selfless love in his stories; tragedy, despair, and death the inevitable outcome. A skilled and artful storyteller, he is also an intellectual who asks questions about society, about ourselves and about life for which we have yet to find the answers. This new selection includes ‘An Essay on Novels’, Sade’s penetrating survey of the novelist’s art, plus an introduction, covering his life and work, and notes (by David Coward), a select bibliography, and a chronology of his life.
Last Night in Twisted River. John Irving. Black Swan, 2010.
This new bestseller from the winner of the National Book Award (for The World According to Garp) tells the story of a 12-year-old boy and his father. In the cook-house of a New Hampshire settlement, the boy fatally mistakes the local constable’s girlfriend for a bear. Father and son become fugitives – to Boston, to southern Vermont, to Toronto – pursued over the years by the implacable constable. Their only protector is a fiercely libertarian logger, once a river driver, who befriends them and distantly watches over them. The story starts in 1954. In spite of the dark subject at its core, the book is full of humour and irony.
The Hare with Amber Eyes - A Hidden Inheritance. Edmund de Waal. Vintage / Random House, 2011.
Edmund De Waal was entranced when he first encountered the “netsuke” – a collection of 264 Japanese wood and ivory carvings, none of them bigger than a matchbox – in his great-uncle Iggie’s Tokyo apartment. When he later inherited it, the collection unlocked a story far larger and more dramatic than he could have ever imagined: from a burgeoning empire in Odessa, to fin-de-siécle Paris, from occupied Vienna to Tokyo, he traced the miniatures’ journey through generations of his remarkable family against the backdrop of a tumultuous century. His story combines the charm of a personal memoir with the resonance of world history.
This column is a selection by The Slovak Spectator of English-language books recently released in Slovakia; it does not represent an endorsement of any of the books selected. The column is prepared in cooperation with the Oxford Bookshop Bratislava, located at Laurinská 9.
11. Jul 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff