A selection of summaries from The New York Times Book Review:Posted — Updated
A selection of summaries from The New York Times Book Review:
THE BOOK THAT CHANGED AMERICA: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation, by Randall Fuller. (Penguin, $18.) Fuller’s lively account focuses on the responses of a group of New England intellectuals to Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species.” The book is perhaps most surprising on the subject of Thoreau, for whom Darwin’s writings would prove influential.
MANHATTAN BEACH, by Jennifer Egan. (Scribner, $17.) In a follow-up to her novel “A Visit From the Goon Squad,” Egan tells the story of a Brooklyn Navy Yards worker during World War II. Times critic Dwight Garner called it “an old-fashioned page turner, tweaked by this witty and sophisticated writer so that you sometimes feel she has retrofitted sleek new engines inside a craft owned for too long by James Jones and Herman Wouk.”
RETURN TO GLORY: The Story of Ford’s Revival and Victory at the Toughest Race in the World, by Matthew DeBord. (Grove, $16.) More than 50 years ago, a Ford heir set out to win Le Mans, the dangerous race across France’s back roads. In 2016, the company returned to the high-stakes course; DeBord recounts the designers and drivers behind the renewed push and tells the story of Ford’s triumphs.
THE ANSWERS, by Catherine Lacey. (Picador, $16.) To pay for her unconventional physical therapy, a woman becomes part of an actor’s latest project: to design the perfect partner, piece by piece. The woman serves as an “Emotional Girlfriend,” agreeing to leave a toothbrush at his house, give him keys to her place, affirm his views and send him pithy texts. Molly Young wrote in The Times that the story is “funny and eerie and idea-dense — a flavor combination that turns out to be addictive.”
MY LOVELY WIFE IN THE PSYCH WARD: A Memoir, by Mark Lukach. (Harper Wave/HarperCollins, $15.99.) Three years into their marriage, the author’s wife suffers a psychotic breakdown, setting in motion a nightmarish cycle of major depressive states, psychosis and nearly round-the-clock care. Lukach’s voice — unsparing and even ruthless, but grounded in love — helps the book vault past the stereotype of an illness memoir.
UNDERGROUND FUGUE, by Margot Singer. (Melville House, $16.99.) In this debut novel, the lives of four Londoners become entwined amid the terrorist attacks of 2005. Esther is caring for her dying mother and strikes up a friendship with her neighbors, an Iranian scientist and his son, Amir. But her paranoia about Amir threatens to derail not only their friendship but the families’ futures.
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