The master is back, with his best book in years. Wow, this book is fun. I read it in 4 days, grinning the whole time.
Somehow, this incredible book about things I know nothing about--being a sister, growing up Mennonite, parenthood--grabbed me tight. Once I started, I carried it everywhere until I finished. It's not light and fluffy; it's not a globe-traversing multi-generational epic. It's a perfect little gem of a novel.
This is finally legally available in paperback after years as a clothbound-only release. Worth the wait.
The David Sedaris-like protagonist makes his living by ghost-writing celeb quickie memoirs: "Downhill All the Way! is about a skier; "Hot Seat!" is about a stock car driver... you get the idea. He finds the ideal little Tuscan villa to fix up, while satirizing every posh ex-pat book since the 1990s. But wait! There's a new neighbor, Marta--a shabby composer from a sketchy Eastern Bloc family--who absolutely insists on sharing our hero's penchant for 80-proof Fernet. A riotous farce worthy of rereading every few years.
I acquired my first copy from a display table at Looking Glass Books in Portland, Oregon.
Edith Crawley of Downton Abbey was based on Nancy Mitford, the Mitford sister who didn't shoot herself when Britan declared war on Hitler, nor the one who eloped to Spain and supported the communists in that Civil War. She's the one who.... well, read it, and see.
The mind behind HIS DARK MATERIALS collects short essays and musings on reading, religion, science, and stories. This is a fun book of big ideas, good humor, and pictures!
The great Lydia Davis translation of 2003 can be read on its own. No professors or notes needed (though she adds a plot summary at the back). This masterwork of art, sex, and memory changed my life.
Half-memoir and half-how-to-write book, this is among the best of either genre. Seriously, I hate memoirs and how-to-write books, and I don't even like King... but this is somehow better than all of that together.