Nedra and Viri seemingly have it all: two beautiful children, loving friends, dinner parties, lazy summer days on the beach and winter nights by the fireplace. But as the story unfolds we start to see the cracks in this ostensibly idyllic life. A line or two in-between the paragraphs and you realize that not all is as it seems. Salter was known among his peers as a master of sentences and Light Years demonstrates just that. The way he portrays his characters makes you feel you intimately know them. Their dialogue makes you want to be a part of them. This is a marvelously told story about a marriage.
Diving into Paul Auster’s new novel 4321 felt like reconnecting with an old friend after years have passed. There is something so familiar and close in his writing and yet something so new with each chapter. It has been seven years since his last novel and it was worth a wait. We meet Archibald Isaac Ferguson the day he was born and from there we are taken on a journey through life, well, four lives, to be exact as we follow four different story lines of how his life unfolds. Family ties, friendships, love and sex, sports, politics, everyday lives of ordinary people in the second half of the twentieth century told in an extraordinary way. The genius of Auster’s writing is the flow. The flow of sentences, paragraphs, chapters, it grabs you from page one and it’s impossible to let go, nor would you want to. Brilliant storytelling skills, by one of the best contemporary authors, come to light in this, by far, his most accomplished novel.
A recent article in the Guardian about the U.K.’s economy, titled “Austerity effect hits women twice as hard as it does men”, explained that austerity measures there have disproportionately affected women. After reading that piece, when I came across Katrine Marcal’s book it presented itself as a required read. Did you know that today almost 60% of American women are in the workforce but they still hold less than 15% of top jobs and 62% of minimum-wage jobs? Marcal introduces these startling statistics in the preface, and immediately in chapter one starts challenging the father of modern economics, Adam Smith, and his “economic man”, the idea that our actions are motivated by self-interest. She criticizes his exclusion of unpaid and caregiving work from economic modeling, an oversight that persists even today. This fast-paced and entertaining book illustrates how economic models work using examples from Russia, China, the U.S., and even Dubai; she even uses comparisons with Robinson Crusoe, Goethe’s Faustus and David Bowie to teach us about economics. Oh, and spoiler alert… it was his mother.