Ian McEwan has won the Booker prize once (for his novel Amsterdam) and been nominated a staggering five other times. His latest novel’s premise isn’t quite up my alley: a beautiful woman has an affair with an older man in Cold War-era England. But the complications involve the woman training to be a spy, and McEwan’s pedigree is second-to-none, so basically anything he writes is worth trying.
It’s difficult to name a writer who’s dominated a medium the way Alice Munro (who’s now 81) has dominated short stories for the past few decades. She’s written almost exclusively short stories over the course of a 15-book, 34-year career, and her work is consistently excellent. Dear Life chronicles “departures and beginnings, accidents, dangers, and homecomings both virtual and real,” but it doesn’t really matter what the stories are about, because you’re reading this for the author, not the subject matter.
I’m not a huge Bolano fan, but I am a fan of unique police novels, and this promises to be unique, if nothing else. The flap copy calls it “an intimate police investigation” of its main character, an exiled Chilean professor and ex-revolutionary. “Dark twists” are promised, and at just 250 pages, it seems much more approachable than Bolano’s critically acclaimed, massive tome 2666.
Another posthumous DFW book, this one is a collection of essays that have never been published in book form—which I guess means they were printed in magazines. They cover subjects as diverse and unexpected as Terminator 2 and Roger Federer. If you’re interested, you know who you are.
Forney’s offering is a biographical graphic novel in the vein of Alison Bechdel’s Are You My Mother?, which I really liked. But Bechdel is a rare talent, and I’m not expecting that good a book from Forney.