Visualizzazione post con etichetta Farrar. Mostra tutti i post
Visualizzazione post con etichetta Farrar. Mostra tutti i post

venerdì 20 gennaio 2012

EXAMINED LIVES: From Socrates to Nietzsche by James Miller (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

“We all want to know how to live. But before the good life was reduced to ten easy steps or a prescription from the doctor, philosophers offered arresting answers to the most fundamental questions about who we are and what makes for a life worth living. In Examined Lives, James Miller returns to this vibrant tradition with short, lively biographies of twelve famous philosophers. Socrates spent his life examining himself and the assumptions of others. His most famous student, Plato, risked his reputation to tutor a tyrant. Diogenes carried a bright lamp in broad daylight and announced he was “looking for a man.” Aristotle’s alliance with Alexander the Great presaged Seneca’s complex role in the court of the Roman Emperor Nero. Augustine discovered God within himself. Montaigne and Descartes struggled to explore their deepest convictions in eras of murderous religious warfare. Rousseau aspired to a life of perfect virtue. Kant elaborated a new ideal of autonomy. Emerson successfully preached a gospel of self-reliance for the new American nation. And Nietzsche tried “to compose into one and bring together what is fragment and riddle and dreadful chance in man,” before he lapsed into catatonic madness. With a flair for paradox and rich anecdote, Examined Lives is a book that confirms the continuing relevance of philosophy today—and explores the most urgent questions about what it means to live a good life...”

venerdì 30 dicembre 2011

TALLER WHEN PRONE – Poems by Les Murray (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)






















“Taller When Prone is Les Murray’s first volume of new poems since The Biplane Houses, published five years ago. These poems combine a mastery of form with a matchless ear for the Australian vernacular. Many evoke rural life here and abroad—its rhythms and rituals, the natural world, the landscape and the people who have shaped it. There are traveler’s tales, elegies, meditative fragments, and satirical sketches. Above all, there is Murray’s astonishing versatility, on display here at its exhilarating best.

Fame

We were at dinner in Soho
and the couple at the next table
rose to go. The woman paused to say
to me: I just wanted you to know
I have got all your cook books
and I swear by them!

I managed
to answer her: Ma'am
they've done you nothing but good!
which was perhaps immodest
of whoever I am.”

mercoledì 28 dicembre 2011

THE SUBMISSION. By Amy Waldman (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)






















“A jury gathers in Manhattan to select a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack. Their fraught deliberations complete, the jurors open the envelope containing the anonymous winner’s name—and discover he is an American Muslim. Instantly they are cast into roiling debate about the claims of grief, the ambiguities of art, and the meaning of Islam. Their conflicted response is only a preamble to the country’s. The memorial’s designer is an enigmatic, ambitious architect named Mohammad Khan. His fiercest defender on the jury is its sole widow, the self-possessed and mediagenic Claire Burwell. But when the news of his selection leaks to the press, she finds herself under pressure from outraged family members and in collision with hungry journalists, wary activists, opportunistic politicians, fellow jurors, and Khan himself—as unknowable as he is gifted. In the fight for both advantage and their ideals, all will bring the emotional weight of their own histories to bear on the urgent question of how to remember, and understand, a national tragedy. In this deeply humane novel, the breadth of Amy Waldman’s cast of characters is matched by her startling ability to conjure their perspectives. A striking portrait of a fractured city striving to make itself whole, The Submission is a piercing and resonant novel by an important new talent..”

lunedì 19 dicembre 2011

PARALLEL STORIES. By Peter Nadas. Translated by Imre Goldstein (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)























“In 1989, the memorable year when the Wall came down, a university student in Berlin on his early morning run finds a corpse lying on a park bench and alerts the authorities. This classic police-procedural scene opens an extraordinary novel, a masterwork that traces the fate of myriad Europeans - Hungarians, Jews, Germans, Gypsies - across the treacherous years of the mid-twentieth century. The social and political circumstances of their lives may vary richly, their sexual and spiritual longings may seem to each of them entirely unique, yet Peter Nádas's magnificent tapestry unveils uncanny, reverberating parallels that link them across time and space.Three unusual men are at the heart of Parallel Stories: Hans von Wolkenstein, whose German mother is linked to dark secrets of fascist-Nazi collaboration during the 1940s, Ágost Lippay-Lehr, whose influential father has served Hungary's different political régimes for decades, and Andras Rott, who has his own dark record of dark activities abroad. They are friends in Budapest when we eventually meet them in the spring of 1961, a pivotal time in the postwar epoch and in their clandestine careers. But the richly detailed, dramatic memories and actions of these men, like those of their friends, lovers and family members, range from Berlin and Moscow to Switzerland and Holland, from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, and of course, across Hungary. The ever-daring, ever-original episodes of Parallel Lives explore the most intimate, most difficult human experiences in a prose glowing with uncommon clarity and also with mysterious uncertainty - as is characteristic of Nadas's subtle, spirited art.The web of extended dramas in Parallel Stories reaches not just forward to the transformative year of 1989 but back to the spring of 1939, with Europe trembling on the edge of war; to the bestial times of 1944-45, when Budapest was besieged, the final solution devastated Hungary's Jews, and the war came to an end; and to the cataclysmic Hungarian Revolution of October 1956. But there is much more to Parallel Stories than that: it is a daring, demanding, and very moving exploration of humanity at its most constrained and its most free.”

martedì 13 dicembre 2011

THE MARRIAGE PLOT. By Jeffrey Eugenides. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)






















“It’s the early 1980s—the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. In the cafés on College Hill, the wised-up kids are inhaling Derrida and listening to Talking Heads. But Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. As Madeleine tries to understand why “it became laughable to read writers like Cheever and Updike, who wrote about the suburbia Madeleine and most of her friends had grown up in, in favor of reading the Marquis de Sade, who wrote about deflowering virgins in eighteenth-century France,” real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes. Leonard Bankhead—charismatic loner, college Darwinist, and lost Portland boy—suddenly turns up in a semiotics seminar, and soon Madeleine finds herself in a highly charged erotic and intellectual relationship with him. At the same time, her old “friend” Mitchell Grammaticus—who’s been reading Christian mysticism and generally acting strange—resurfaces, obsessed with the idea that Madeleine is destined to be his mate. Over the next year, as the members of the triangle in this amazing, spellbinding novel graduate from college and enter the real world, events force them to reevaluate everything they learned in school. Leonard and Madeleine move to a biology Laboratory on Cape Cod, but can’t escape the secret responsible for Leonard’s seemingly inexhaustible energy and plunging moods. And Mitchell, traveling around the world to get Madeleine out of his mind, finds himself face-to-face with ultimate questions about the meaning of life, the existence of God, and the true nature of love. Are the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so.”



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