Persuasion: An Annotated Edition - Jane Austen, Robert Morrison

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a shopper in possession of gift list must be in want of a good book.  OK, I’m a Jane Austen fan.  Even so, I had never read Persuasion.  But when Persuasion: An Annotated Edition (Harvard Univ., $35) arrived on the shelves, I knew I had to pick it up. Not unlike its relative from last year, Pride and Prejudice: An Annotated Edition, this book is for any Austenite (even if you have read the novel before) or for any collector of beautiful books. All you need to do is open it up to see what I mean.  The editor, Robert Morrison, uses side-notes instead of endnotes, so readers can easily go from text to note and back again.  The notes carefully explain archaic words, provide commentary, and generally help elucidate the text.  Similarly, illustrations, engravings, and paintings are carefully chosen to add depth to the story and provide insight into the world in which Austen lived.  Oh, and did I mention, there’s a great love story there too? Truly a gorgeous book and a great gift.

Persuasion: An Annotated Edition By Jane Austen, Robert Morrison (Editor) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780674049741
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Belknap Press - November 7th, 2011

The Stranger's Child - Alan Hollinghurst

Cecil Valance, poet, soldier, and seductive heir to a baronetcy, is scarcely cold in his grave at the Somme when the mythmaking about his life begins. As friends, relatives, and readers of his verse construct their various images, Cecil, like Alan Hollinghurst’s masterful novel, becomes “one set of secrets nested inside another.” The Stranger’s Child (Knopf, $27.95) opens on the eve of World War I and chronicles a century of British social and cultural history through the descendents of Valence’s circle. Hollinghurst draws great emotional power from his wide scope and large cast of characters by giving each period its own protagonist, from the innocent sixteen-year-old smitten with the dashing Cecil to the poet’s first biographer, a bank clerk so determined to reveal the truth that he unwittingly makes it up. Hollinghurst’s ultimate subject is the passing of time, and he finds in its merciless trampling of achievement and reputation fertile ground for their imaginative recreation.

The Stranger's Child (Vintage International) By Alan Hollinghurst Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307474346
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - September 4th, 2012

Mr. Fox - Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi’s amazing first novel, The Icarus Girl, blended African animism with Western psychology to tell the story of an alienated girl and her imaginary playmate. In her rich and startling third novel, the presiding spirits are many, from Ovid to Bluebeard, folktales to Cappelanus. The eponymous Mr. Fox (Riverhead, $25.95) is a writer. His chief creation, Mary Foxe, is also his muse and a personification of love. She wreaks havoc with Mr. Fox’s marriage, but his wife also comes to know and admire her. Together, these three figures make up the central cast of this elusive, shape-shifting fiction, the trio acting out various scenarios of courtship and marriage and generally aspiring to the condition of fairy tales, in which “everybody was in disguise, or on their way to becoming something else.” Fantastic but not whimsical, Oyeyemi’s narrative is grounded in the reality of human behavior as much as it is in dreams, her mix of magic and realism hewing to the laws of fairy tales which decree that “love could not prevail if the order of the tale didn’t wish it, and neither could hatred, nor grief, nor cunning.”

Mr. Fox By Helen Oyeyemi Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594486180
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - November 6th, 2012