Mike Tyson with Larry Sloman
(Blue Rider Press, 592 pp., $30)
With the more colorful moments of Mike Tyson’s life now thoroughly documented in the minds of the American public, this is a book that should simply be quoted at length because it is absolutely bonkers. From Mr. Tyson’s epilogue:
“These days I Read More
At some point in the not-too-distant past, Arthur Kane and Steven Patrick Morrissey were sitting in Mel’s Drive-In on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. Mr. Kane is best known as the bass guitarist for the New York Dolls, 1970s pioneers of rock ’n’ roll transvestism who provided former Smiths front man Morrissey with a formative sexual experience: “Jerry Nolan on the front of the Dolls debut album is the first woman I ever fell in love with; the hussy-slut positioning of the legs is Playmate call girl, and the pink drum kit just might be a rock ’n’ roll first.”
Decades later, in Mel’s Drive-In, the roles are reversed. As Morrissey recalls, Mr. Kane asked him for a ride “to a few job interviews this week,” which Morrissey declined to grant. “Arthur tells me that he has been asked to write the music for an upcoming film called Josie and the Pussycats,” Morrissey writes. “It’s the kind of taradiddle you will hear nonstop in Los Angeles. If people only spoke of what they had done as opposed to what they were about to do, it would be the most silent city on the face of the Earth.” Morrissey’s Autobiography attests to the fact that he has accomplished much in his 54 years. Poetically crafted though the book may be, Morrissey, playfully nicknamed the Pope of Mope by the British press, has written a hefty self-apologia no less petty than the supposed “taradiddle” of his fellow Angelenos.
Bernard Berenson: A Life in the Picture Trade
(Yale University Press, 344 pp., $18.98)
“I wanted to become a work of art myself,” the art historian Bernard Berenson (1865-1959) wrote late in life. Over his 94 years, he fashioned himself into the foremost scholar of Italian Renaissance painting, perhaps the most envied and Read More
The small, luminous painting after which Donna Tartt’s third novel takes its name, The Goldfinch, is by the Dutch painter Carel Fabritius, a student of Rembrandt. You can go see it in New York if you like, at least until Jan. 19, at the Frick, where it’s included in an exhibition that shared an opening day with Ms. Tartt’s release date. The painting was made in 1654, the same year Fabritius was killed at age 32 due to an explosion at a gunpowder store in Delft, a tragedy that left more than a hundred people dead and is echoed in the stunning set piece that opens Ms. Tartt’s expansive, resonant novel. In an ambiguously dated near-contemporary Manhattan, 13-year-old Theo and his mother, left to depend on each other after his deadbeat father’s departure some months before, are visiting a Dutch Masters exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum when a bomb explodes, killing her and others. Theo escapes the wreckage but first has a dreamlike, otherworldly interaction with an old man who isn’t so lucky, whom Theo had seen wandering the gallery with his striking niece before the blast. About to die, he convinces Theo to take The Goldfinch, a longtime sentimental favorite of Theo’s mother, out of the museum and asks him to deliver a ring to what turns out to be a West Village antiques store.
Edited by Ann Goldstein
(Prestel USA, 400 pp., $85)
The considerable gap left by the suicide of the artist Mike Kelley last year is only more apparent in light of his retrospective show at MoMA PS1. That show should be experienced firsthand, though a close second is this comprehensive catalog, published in conjunction Read More
Penguin Press, 144 pp., $26.95
There’s a combative little essay in Blue Pastures, Mary Oliver’s excellent 1995 prose collection, that has stuck with me through the years. “Nothing in the forest is charming,” Ms. Oliver writes. “And nothing in the forest is cute.” It’s a particularly damning argument against the way Read More
(Knopf, 340 pp., $27.95)
Jhumpa Lahiri, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her 1999 short story collection Interpreter of Maladies, returns with a heartbreaking and quietly ambitious tale about two young brothers and their family living in Calcutta in the 1960s and following them through generations to the present.
Udayan, who Read More
Fall Arts Preview 2013
True Crime Detective Magazines 1924-1969
edited by Dian Hanson
(Taschen, 336 pp., $39.99)
“WASHINGTON MURDER ORGY,” “TWO THOUSAND SUSPECTS,” “SECRET LOVE SPELLS SUDDEN DEATH,” “TOO MANY KISSES ON THE BEACH.” These screaming cover lines can be found on just one page of Taschen’s new art book, True Crime Detective Magazines Read More
It is not easy to begin writing about a book about a man who is having a hard time writing a book. In Traveling Sprinkler, a sequel of sorts to The Anthologist (2009), Nicholson Baker resurrects the incorrigible procrastinator Paul Chowder, a somewhat successful but aimless poet who, having finally finished the introduction to the Read More
In the 50 years since the publication of his first novel, V, in 1963, Thomas Pynchon has established himself as the foremost paranoiac of American fiction, balancing absurdist slapstick with the obsessive conviction of the most sincere (or deranged) conspiracy theorist. Though their settings have varied wildly, from colonial America to 1970s Los Angeles, Mr. Pynchon’s basic themes have remained remarkably consistent: the dark underside of technological progress, the hidden networks of power that bind corporate interests and government control, the inability of a single narrative to neatly contain the messy complexities of a given event. In this sense, the New York of late 2001 was a Pynchon novel waiting to happen, in which the failures of “late capitalist” speculation, in the form of the recently deflated tech bubble, meet 9/11 to form the 21st century’s Year Zero.