Selections from the New York Times Book Review
December 4, 2005
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Aslam, Nadeem. Maps for Lost Lovers. London: Faber and Faber, 2004.
Unhappy Pakistani exiles in a cold, hard Britain populate this intricate novel.
Bakopoulos, Dean. Please Don't Come Back From the Moon. . Orlando, Fla.: Harcourt, 2005.
When the fathers in the Rust Belt town of this novel abandon it en masse, their sons take over.
Banville, John. The Sea. London: Picador, 2005.
Banville's new novel, which won this year's Man Booker Prize, concerns an aging art critic mourning his wife's recent death - and his blighted life.
Beattie, Ann. Follies: New Stories.. New York: Scribner, 2005.
This keen observer of the surface of life now slows down for an occasional epiphany.
Bidart, Frank. Star Dust. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
The fastidious and the primal join in poems concerned with man as maker.
Chiasson, Dan. Natural History: Poems. . New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
This second collection conjures a postmodern landscape where folk knowledge and superstitions arrange into oddly moving litanies.
Coetzee, J.M. Slow Man. . London: Secker & Warburg, 2005.
Crippled at 60 in a car-bike accident, instructed willy-nilly by a know-it-all female novelist, Coetzee's hero studies the diminished life.
Doctorow, E.L. The March. . New York: Random House, 2005.
Characters in this absorbing novel are transformed by distress and destruction as Sherman marches to the sea in 1864.
Eggers, Dave. How We Are Hungry: Stories. . San Francisco: McSweeney's Books, 2004.
A shining miscellany peopled by characters in close touch with childhood.
Ellis, Bret Easton. Lunar Park. . New York: Knopf: Distributed by Random House, 2005.
A novel starring a brat named Bret Easton Ellis, who knows everybody and has more fun than ever happens to real people.
Erdrich, Louise. The Painted Drum. New York: HarperCollins, 2005.
A ceremonial drum is magically linked to children and death in Erdrich's latest novel set among the Ojibwa.
Erian, Alica. Towelhead. . New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005.
A bluntly erotic novel whose narrator's budding sexuality gets her driven from home.
Gaitskill, Mary. Veronica. . New York: Pantheon Books, 2005.
A novel that ruminates on beauty and cruelty, told by a former Paris model now sick and poor.
Garcma Marquez, Garbriel. Memories of My Melancholy Whores. . York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
A strange and luminous novel whose elderly hero pays for sex but finds love.
Graham, Jorie. Overlord: Poems. . New York: Ecco, c2005.
Politics and World War II, mediated by a major poet.
Harrison, Kathryn. Envy. . New York: Random House, 2005.
A psychoanalyst is unhappy but distant until Greek-tragedy things start happening in this novel by an ace student of sexual violation.
Kadare, Ismail. The Successor; . translated by David Bellos. New York: Arcade, 2005
A whodunit tragicomedy by Albania's pre-eminent novelist, about a loyal Communist who dies before succeeding to power in that unlucky land.
Kelly, Thomas. Empire Rising. . New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
A muscular historical novel in which the Irish erect the Empire State Building in a cheerfully corrupt New York.
Kirn, Walter. Mission to America. . New York: Doubleday, 2005.
In his new novel, Kirn invents a religion whose believers hit the road to recruit.
Kshiguro, Kazuo. Never Let Me Go. . New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
This bold novel imagines a school where clones are trained for a terrible destiny.
Kunkel, Benjamin. Indecision. . New York: Random House, 2005.
This postmodern, posteverything, fresh and funny novel by a young writer seems to develop a nonironic social conscience.
Leonard, Elmore. The Hot Kid. . New York: William Morrow, 2005.
Many seek fame in this rendering of America's criminal landscape in the 1930's; the title character, a killer lawman, achieves it.
Lipsyte, Sam. Home Land. . New York: Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005.
Lipsyte's antihero, a loser but unbowed, asserts in endless letters to his alumni magazine that all the others are losers too.
Mantel, Hilary. Beyond Black. New York: Henry Holt, 2005.
Neurotic, demanding ghosts haunt a British clairvoyant in this darkly comic novel.
Mattison, Alice. In Case We're Separated: Connected Stories. . New York: William Morrow, 2005.
The stories concern a family whose members couldn't lose each other if they tried.
McCarthy, Cormac. No Country for Old Men. . New York: Knopf, 2005.
Women grieve, men fight in this hard-boiled Texas noir crime novel.
McEwan, Ian. Saturday. . New York: Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, 2005.
This novel traces a day off in the life of an English neurosurgeon who comes face to face with senseless violence.
Merwin, W.S. Migration: New and Selected Poems. . Port Townsend, Wash.: Copper Canyon Press, 2005
Half a century's work, from archaic allegories to unpointed lyrics to secular prophecy and wisdom verses.
Murakami, Haruki. Kafka on the Shore; . translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel. New York: Alfred A. Knopf: Distributed by Random House, 2005.
Two characters alternate in this dreamish novel: a boy fleeing an Oedipal prophecy and a witless old man who can talk to cats.
Oates, Joyce Carol. Missing Mom. . New York: Ecco, 2005.
This novel peers into the void left by a woman's sudden absence.
Perlman, Elliot. Seven Types of Ambiguity. . London: Faber and Faber, 2003.
An Australian novel so large in its concept of fiction's grasp on the world it takes seven narrators just to tell it.
Prose, Francine. A Changed Man. . New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005.
A neo-Nazi engages a Jewish human rights leader in this morally concerned novel, asking for help in his effort to repent.
Rowling, J.K, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; illustrated by Mary GrandPri. New York Arthur A. Levine Books, 2005.
D'Angelo Law Stacks
In this sixth volume of the epic series, the Dark Lord, Voldemort, is wreaking havoc throughout England and Harry, now 16, is more isolated than ever.
Rushdie, Salman. Shalimar the Clown. . New York: Random House, 2005.
Beauty loses out as Kashmir and Rushdie's characters who live there turn brutal.
Sittenfeld, Curtis. Prep. . New York: Random House, 2005.
A scholarship girl at a nifty prep school is thrust into a world of privilege in this novel.
Smith, Zadie. On Beauty. . New York: Penguin Press, 2005.
The author of White Teeth pounces on a place like Harvard in a cultural-politics comedy.
St. Aubyn, Edward. Mother's Milk. . New York: Open City Books, 2005
PR6069.T134 M68 2005
In this novel an ancient family's sins are visited on its offspring, who repeat them.
Vollmann, William T. Europe Central. . New York: Viking, 2005.
A novel, mostly in stories, of Middle European fanaticism and resistance to it in the World War II period.
Wilbur, Richard. Collected Poems, 1943-2004. . Orlando, Fla.: Harcourt, 2004.
This urbane poetry survived the age of Ginsberg, Lowell and Plath.