Neuronal Man: The Biology of Mind, Jean-Pierre Changeux (Pantheon). Aiming to "destroy the barriers that separate the mental from the neural," Changeux argues that "life functions can proceed without a special life force." This is "an ambitious book, providing provocative instruction for scientists and non-scientists alike. . . . Changeux is looking where others have looked and is seeing what others have not seen" (Allan Tobin).
Mr. Palomar, Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver (A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). This post-Einsteinian Everyman . . . is Calvino's wry notion of where we stand in the modern universe. . . . Like the bearded man who got no sleep after somebody asked him whether he slept with his whiskers on top of the sheet or underneath, Palomar finds a distressing puzzlement in the smallest events" (Richard Eder).
Ransom, Jay McInerney (Vintage). "Dope dealing and violence in Pakistan had left (Chris Ransom) bereaved and, like other travelers of his generation, he yearned for a path." Now, Chris is in Kyoto, Japan, "beginning to wonder what it all means." This is a novel "that speaks to our national loneliness and our deep-seated need to come home" (Andrew Weinberger).
Melville: Pierre, Israel Potter, The Piazza Tales, The Confidence Man, Uncollected Prose, Billy Budd, edited by Harrison Hayford (The Library of America). "This handsome volume gives us a third of Melville's fiction. . . . The texts are impeccably accurate (and) the collection is accompanied by an unobtrusive but expert annotation" (John Sutherland).