Posted December 2, 2018 1:25 a.m. EST
A selection of summaries from The New York Times Book Review:
AFTERGLOW (a dog memoir), by Eileen Myles. (Grove, $16.) Myles channels the perspective of a beloved dog, Rosie, who has been dead for years, in this meditation on spirituality, intimacy and grief. The book expands to riff on everything from the George W. Bush administration to the art of tapestry. New York Times reviewer Sigrid Nunez praised the memoir, writing that “because, like any serious book about death, it is full of life, it has a celebratory feel to it.”
THE ODYSSEY, by Homer. Translated by Emily Wilson. (Norton, $18.95.) A masterly translation, the first into English by a female translator, matches Homer line by line and renders the story in clear, idiomatic language. Wilson’s landmark achievement illuminates the poem’s double meanings and subtleties, with the characters and their interactions always on center stage.
AMERICAN SANCTUARY: Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution, by A. Roger Ekirch. (Vintage, $17.) This account centers on a 1797 mutiny aboard a British warship. The episode became a political flash point, one that Ekirch suggests played a role in delivering the presidency in 1800 to Thomas Jefferson and helping establish the United States’ policy of granting asylum to refugees.
ONLY KILLERS AND THIEVES, by Paul Howarth. (Harper Perennial, $16.99.) It’s 1880s Australia, and the McBrides are coping with a terrible drought. An unexpected act of violence upends the family, driving its two teenage sons to seek vengeance and, later, redemption. The novel takes on the drama of an American Western as a band of crooked characters travels across the outback; Howarth doesn’t shy away from describing the endemic racism of the era, along with colonial policies that discriminated against indigenous Australians.
TOSCANINI: Musician of Conscience, by Harvey Sachs. (Liveright, $24.95.) This illuminating, exhaustive biography charts Arturo Toscanini’s ascent to join the best conductors in the 20th century, touching on his musical genius as well as his lasting imprint on the leading houses of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera and La Scala. In Sachs’ telling he emerges as a morally driven prodigy who spoke out against fascism and hate.
THE BOAT PEOPLE, by Sharon Bala. (Anchor, $16.95.) A father, Mahindan, and his son are two of hundreds of Sri Lankans who have been driven by a violent war in their home country to seek refuge in Canada in 2010, only to be torn apart upon their arrival. Bala interweaves the story of the internment of almost 24,000 Canadian citizens of Japanese origin in the 1940s.