books image   back of the book
 
jonathan coe   The first of a planned two-part tale, Jonathan Coe's The Rotters' Club chronicles the adolescence of mates Benjamin Trotter, Philip Chase, Doug Anderton, and Sean Harding. Set in 1970s Birmingham during the slide of the pre-"Cool Britannia" Labour party (a counterpoint to the second novel's Blairite politics), it spreads the boys' comic teenage turmoil of girls, grades, and growth against the white noise of the nation's problems with industrial unions, racism, terrorist bombings, and the sexual revolution. As he did in his '80s pastiche The Winshaw Legacy, or What a Carve Up!, Coe packs his book with hilarious period detail: prog rock and punk, polyester, and bad British cuisine. In the few months since its British release, The Rotters' Club has already become a literary curio of sorts. French musician and frequent Coe collaborator Louis Philippe devoted three songs off his new album to characters in the novel: "Theme from The Rotters' Club," "Three Views of Cicely," and "Benjamin in Paradise." And there of course is the matter of the now-notorious ending--a Molly Bloom-esque forty-page, 14,000-word sentence that has broken the world record for the longest sentence in the English language.
 
thisbe nissen   Thisbe Nissen's Out of the Girls' Room and Into the Night is a collection of stories about the often-awkward transition into adulthood. Demonstrating her keen powers of observation as well as her natural prose sense, Nissen complicates and often reverses the notion of this transition as one from innocence to experience. Schoolyard politics traumatize grade-schoolers, a fifteen-year-old girl turns to sex for escape in a time of grief, a group of hippie college students experience a series of disturbances to their interpersonal dynamic, and, in the last story of the collection, a relationship between a high school senior and her teacher comes to light at the prom. In this month's Bold Type, you'll find that final story, "Out of the Girls' Room and Into the Night."
 
joseph ellis   Unfortunately overshadowed by controversy unrelated to the book, Founding Brothers, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, is nonetheless one of the most engaging and illuminating looks at the primary architects of what is now the most enduring republic in the history of the world. Joseph Ellis' study of this most auspicious group—focusing on John Adams, Aaron Burr, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and George Washington—is a riveting tale of conflict and compromise which is sure to become a classic of early American history. Told through six fascinating stories, the dramatic narrative touches upon all of the major issues facing the infant nation, and does so in a way that truly conveys the author's enthusiasm for his subjects and his profession.
 
laurie sheck   Laurie Sheck's new poems shimmer and stream like mercury or smoky wind in sunlight. A past finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, her poems have appeared in The New Yorker and The Boston Review. Her latest book, Black Series, gently suggests the influences of both Jorie Graham and Louise Glück, enlarging on the poems of those now celebrated predecessors as well as Greek myths in an entirely unique manner. The two poems in this issue provide an absorbing variation on the Medusan myth, embracing its ancient sources and lingering over them with her assuredly contemporary style and sensitivity.
 
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