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Biographies and Memoirs


Life is sometimes stranger than fiction.

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Contemporary Literature Spotlight10

Autobiography of a Corpse by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky

Thursday April 17, 2014

Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky's Autobiography of a Corpse compiles eleven irreverent short stories from early 20th-Century Russia that combine the madness of Nikolai Gogol with the philosophical crises of existentialism.

Review of Autobiography of a Corpse

Photo: New York Review Books

Nick Hornby's A Long Way Down

Sunday April 13, 2014

If anybody can write a feel-good novel about suicide, it's Nick Hornby. That novel was A Long Way Down, Hornby's 2005 story of four people - a talk show host, a musician, a teenage girl and a mother - who find each other on New Year's Eve on the roof of Topper's House, a well-known jumping-off point for the suicidal in London.

A Long Way Down will be a movie this year, as happens to novels when you're Nick Hornby, and I'll be interested to see if they do it justice (hint: read the book first). As you may or may not know, Hornby was also tapped to adapt Cheryl Strayed's Wild for the screen, another film out this year.

2014 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist

Friday April 11, 2014

This week, the 2014 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist of six was announced with the following books contending for the 30,000 award, to be announced at a ceremony in London on June 4:

The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) was formed in 1991 when a group of journalists, reviewers, agents, publishers, librarians and booksellers noticed a distinct lack of women in the Booker shortlist. Learn more about the prize and its history at womensprizeforfiction.co.uk.

Leaving the Sea by Ben Marcus

Monday April 7, 2014

Ben Marcus's new collection Leaving the Sea reads like a compilation of demos and false starts, of stories that Marcus has not yet expanded towards the length of a novel. Marcus's cryptic, aggressive prose will appeal to fans of The Flame Alphabet, but might also reveal an author struggling to emerge from a tonal rut.

Review of Leaving the Sea

Photo: Knopf

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