Swing Time by Zadie Smith: “Two brown girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…”
Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yoko Tawada: “Three generations (grandmother, mother, son) of polar bears are famous as both circus performers and writers in East Germany: they are polar bears who move in human society, stars of the ring and of the literary world. Happy or sad, each bear writes a story, enjoying both celebrity and ‘the intimacy of being alone with my pen.’”
Moonglow by Michael Chabon: “Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as ‘my grandfather.’ It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of keeping secrets and telling lies.”
Also this month: We’ll review Loner by Teddy Wayne, interview Elizabeth Greenwood, author of Playing Dead, and launch a new column (!) devoted to literature in translation.