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Roth RIP

It seems Philip Roth’s last read was Asymmetry. According to the NYTimes obit today: “Mostly, he read — nonfiction by preference, but he made exception for the occasional novel. One of the last he read was “Asymmetry,” by Lisa Halliday, a book about a young woman who has a romance with an aging novelist who bore an unmistakable resemblance to Mr. Roth — funny, kind, acerbic, passionate, immensely well-read, a devotee of Zabar’s and old movies. In an interview, Mr. Roth acknowledged that he and Ms. Halliday had been friends,… Read more Roth RIP

Tom Wolfe

His suits and literary legacy live on. No one ever coined cultures better. All-time favorites in Carol’s carrel. I Am Charlotte Simmons Bonfire of the Vanities Back to Blood The Right Stuff

The Immortalists

by Chloe Benjamin. Self-fulfilled prophesies. Intriguing premise. Would you want to know the date of your death? Would you waste a long life or live dangerously a short one? Does the knowledge gnaw at you such that it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy? Benjamin treats each of these in the context of external forces. Does magic trump religion? Four siblings go to a fortune teller and take their fates away with them on a portentous day in the 1960’s NY. Takes them to San Francisco and Chicago. Well-drawn characters. The first half… Read more The Immortalists

A Season in Limbo

Dominick Dunne’s 1993 best-selling novel, A Season in Purgatory. Anatomy of the murder of young Martha Moxley in the exclusive enclave of Greenwich, Connecticut in 1975. Bludgeoned by a golf club one night after a country club dance, Martha was left dead or dying in nearby woods. Steps from her home. Ethel Kennedy’s cousin Michael Skakel the presumed culprit. Cover-ups and obfuscation ensued. The wealthy wagons circled. In 2002, thanks to Dunne’s research, Michael was convicted and sentenced to 20 years. He served 11 before he won an appeal for having… Read more A Season in Limbo

Asymmetry

by Lisa Halliday. Her affair with Philip Roth. Would have been a great story on its own. But. It went astray. Top critical review on Amazon here. No Nobel for Roth or anybody else for literature this year. Scandals postpone the award until 2019.

The Ghost Notebooks

By Ben Dolnick. I started out loving Dolnick’s writing. Sharp-witted, insightful views of life. Crisp clear descriptions. Then both the writing and the story went awry. Into a depressing downward spiral of death and grief. Thought this was going to be about ghosts and the occult. If you want that, don’t get this. Only a little smattering of it at the end. Which was weak.