This Week’s Hot Reads: Sept. 26, 2011
This week: 9/11 in fiction, poetry, and fact.
Granta 116: Ten Years Later Edited by John Freeman
Britain’s premier literary magazine tackles 9/11 with a wide range of viewpoints and contributors.
One of the best books on 9/11 is not a novel or a work of nonfiction but British literary quarterly Granta’s latest issue. This superb collection reflects the wildly varied experiences of people in the post-9/11 era. From a U.S. soldier, Phil Klay, writing about the return home, to Pico Iyer’s meditation on border security and identity, to former Gitmo prisoner Ahmed Errachidi’s searing memoir, Granta spans borders, ethnicity, and experience to demonstrate forcefully and gracefully that the day affected all of us in ways we sometimes don’t even understand.
You Deserve Nothing by Alexander Maksik
A thought-provoking debut that mixes existentialism with cool Parisian intrigue.
Alexander Maksik describes the pleasures and temptations of Paris in this new book. William Silver is a teacher at an international school in Paris whose unorthodox methods thrill his students and trouble his colleagues. But Silver, haunted by a failed personal life and other troubles, eventually gives in to a temptation that leaves him branded a criminal. In his debut novel, Maksik offers a stunning analysis of what happens when our private and public lives collide.
Gun Fight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America by Adam Winkler
A fascinating analysis of America’s centuries-long battle over gun control.
In Gun Fight, constitutional-law professor Adam Winkler delves deep inside America’s 400-year-long battle over gun control. Along the way, Winkler reveals many fascinating insights into the gun-control debate; for example, the Ku Klux Klan was originally a gun-control organization, and the “Wild West” actually had very strict gun-control laws. Most important, he shows that the debate over gun control is much more moderate on both sides than many realize. Winkler offers an original and well-researched interpretation of a very contentious and politicized issue.
Crossbones by Nuruddin Farah
A gripping fictional look into the horrors and chaos of Somalia.
Farah explores Somalia, a country fraught with conflict, in the final installment of his mesmerizing trilogy. Somalia-born professor Jeebleh returns to the country after a 12-year absence, along with his son-in-law Malik, a journalist. The two are joined by Malik’s brother, Ahl, who is searching for his lost stepson. At first, the group finds none of the violence that Jeebleh remembers, but after Ethiopia invades, the travelers are thrust into the middle of a hellish war. A searing look at individuals caught in the chaos of anarchy.
The Fearless Mrs. Goodwin by Elizabeth Mitchell
A thrilling, and true, turn-of-the-century detective story.
In 1912, after a brutal bank heist proved to be unsolvable for the New York City Police Department, the city turned to police matron Isabella Goodwin to crack the case. Being a woman allowed Goodwin to infiltrate the criminal underworld without attracting any suspicion, and the widowed mother of four embarked on a dangerous mission to solve the crime. Mitchell tells a fascinating true story that reads like a thriller.