On December 2nd, 1980, Romain Gary lay down in his Paris apartment, a synagogue-size menorah at the foot of the bed, and put a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson in his mouth. Seconds later, the life of one of France’s most celebrated and prolific novelists—a decorated war hero, globe-trotting diplomat, and notorious lothario—was over. But this was more than suicide: It was the final act of mythmaking from a man preoccupied, above all, with manipulating the people and events in his life almost as deftly as those in his books. Read the rest @ Tablet.
Alan Hollinghurst’s fourth novel—just awarded England’s Man Booker Prize—is a scathing examination of the sexual, racial, and class fault lines of the Thatcher era as they converge in one young man’s life. Nick Guest, The Line of Beauty’s scholar-protagonist, comes bearing many youthful social fantasies and a symbolic last name. Read the rest @ New York.
Take a tragically dead father, a good-hearted but distracted mother, and a clever kid engaged in a mystery-solving quest around New York. Add weighty historical background, aging WWII survivors, some plot-driving letters/diary entries/manuscript fragments, and you have the constituents of not one novel but two: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer and The History of Love by his wife, Nicole Krauss. Read the rest @ Mediabistro.