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This week: a restored edition of A Moveable Feast, a screwball romance, and an epic biography of Lance Armstrong.
A Moveable Feast: The Restored Editionby Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway’s grandson re-edits a modern masterpiece.
Hemingway lovers have a treat in store for them this week. Scribner just released a restored edition of A Moveable Feast, in which his grandson unearths paragraphs of prose that were either cut out by Mary Hemingway or editors. The juiciest deletions? In the last chapter of the book, Hemingway describes the end of his marriage to his first wife and the beginning of his affair with Pauline, who would become his second wife. In the original, Hemingway comes off as full of remorse and Pauline as a man-stealer. But in the restored edition, Hemingway’s love for Pauline comes shining through and his regret is much more consuming. (Sean Hemingway, who edited the new version, was Pauline’s descendant. Read an excerpt in The New York Times.) Sean also removed some items. “The introductory letter by Ernest Hemingway…was actually fabricated by Mary Hemingway from manuscript fragments and, thus, has been left out of this edition,” he writes. Other changes include a slightly unsympathetic description of F. Scott Fitzgerald. The most significant change, perhaps, is the restoration of the use of the second person in the narrative throughout the book. There is, alas, still no real final chapter in Hemingway’s posthumously published memoir.
My Name Is Will by Jess Winfield
William Shakespeare meets Looney Tunes.
Could William Shakespeare have been the 16th-century equivalent of a drug-using, free-spirited lothario enrolled in a liberal, West Coast university in the 1980s? Jess Winfield thinks the idea isn't so far-fetched. My Name Is Will draws parallels between Shakespeare's era of religious persecution and Reagan's war on drugs by simultaneously following the legendary playwright and a young ne'er-do-well attending UC Santa Cruz. The modern protagonist, named Willie, idolizes Shakespeare and dreams of gaining insight into his brilliance, but is too often distracted by women and drugs. Shakespeare himself, the book describes, coped with ironically similar struggles. Along the way, Winfield, the co-creator of a humorous two-hour Cliffs Notes performance of all 37 of Shakespeare's plays, throws in countless twists on familiar lines. But the protagonist and the playwright are linked by hallucinogenic drugs. The New York Times advises “you might want to invest in a slide whistle and a cowbell before you start reading, to give the goings-on the Looney Tunes accompaniment they deserve.”
Lanceby John Wilcockson
From Texas to France, Armstrong’s epic story of endurance.
As Lance Armstrong battles through the Pyrenees on the Tour de France, it’s all about endurance. But in Lance: The Making of the World’s Greatest Champion, we understand that, from his near-fatal battle with cancer to his doping allegations, Lance’s life has been all about endurance. The book covers Lance’s humble origins on the backstreets of Dallas, with a father he barely knew and a mother who struggled to survive. It also shows how Lance couldn’t have possibly become the champion of his sport alone: He relied on a vast support network of family and friends, including his ex-wife, Kristin, and former fiancée Sheryl Crow. From the dusty roads of Texas to the snowy peaks of France, Lance is a compelling story of survival and, above all else, endurance.
Wife of the Gods by Kwei Quartey
A thrilling detective novel set in Ghana.
Kwei Quartey's debut novel takes the detective genre and drops it in a less-familiar setting, far from the standard gritty, urban city: He takes us to Ghana, where policeman Darko Dawson, comes across an unusual homicide case. Out in a rural, isolated village, Dawson must ferret out the truth from the powerful spiritual beliefs and ancient customs that make standard police work nearly impossible. The murder victim is a woman who fought against AIDS and longstanding traditions that make women second-class citizens. As Dawson tries to get to the bottom of the caper, he is reminded of his own mother's disappearance in the very same village where the murder occurred. Dawson, like most fictional sleuths, is not without his own flaws; he has a hot temper and an affinity for smoking weed. Publisher's Weekly writes that “readers will be eager for the next installment in what one hopes will be a long series.”
Lovesickby Alex Wellen
A screwball comedy about small-town love.
We’ve all had to win over the parents before getting to the person we love. Lovesick, a debut novel by television writer and producer Alex Wellen, tells the story of Andy Altman, who falls in love with Paige Day on Halloween 1983. She’s Princess Leia, and he’s Chewbacca. But from that day forward, Andy is determined to make her his bride, and so he moves back to the town of Crockett, California, to start working for her very demanding father, a local pharmacist. What ensues is a family drama and a coming-of-age tale all wrapped into one, which involves, if you can believe it, a band of geriatric gangsters. Lovesick is part romance, part screwball comedy, in what Larry King calls “A fresh, funny look at the rocky road to real love and a happy marriage.”