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ENTERTAINMENT
March 22, 2013 | By Jim Ruland
On a piano keyboard, which mimics the human vocal range, the middle C is the C closest to the center. That's Joseph Skizzen - the protagonist of William H. Gass' long-awaited follow-up to his 1995 masterpiece "The Tunnel" - a middle-of-the-road yet slightly off-center academic who wants nothing but "the chance of an unnoticed life. " But it just might be a stand-in for the author. If Gass' body of work were a keyboard, you'd have his debut novel, "Omensetter's Luck" on one end and of "The Tunnel" at the other.
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ENTERTAINMENT
December 15, 2011 | By Jessica Gelt, Los Angeles Times
Life is just a long string of memories. Even our present is being pushed each second into the past. Peter Orner uses that fact to engaging effect in his new novel, "Love and Shame and Love. " The book tells the story of a young man named Alexander Popper and his family strictly through anamnesis' ethereal prism. Each chapter is a solitary memory, dusted off and glowing with latent emotional residue. It's a nontraditional storytelling device that results in a book of brief chapters, sometimes no more than a paragraph, each of which could easily stand on its own. The story jumps back and forth - like memory itself - between early family history and fairly recent recollections.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 19, 2012 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
Back to Blood A Novel Tom Wolfe Little, Brown: 704 pp., $30 About a quarter of the way through Tom Wolfe's new novel, "Back to Blood," pornography addiction specialist Dr. Norman Lewis waits with his nurse (and mistress) Magdelena Otero to be interviewed by a "60 Minutes" crew. Norman is delirious at the prospect of his star turn - so much so that he becomes a bit, er, overstimulated. "' Now - while they're at the door!' " he grunts at Magdalena, who responds, " 'No, Norman!
ENTERTAINMENT
September 19, 2013 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
When Stephen King published his third novel, "The Shining," in 1977, he was a writer with a lot on his mind. Initially, he told The Times in 1998, he conceived of the book as "a Shakespearean tragedy, a kind of inside-out 'King Lear,' where Lear is this young guy who has a son instead of daughters. " He even went so far as to divide the first draft into acts and scenes. Make of this what you will, but it suggests that King has always had more at stake than merely to frighten us, that he wants to get at the big themes: love, loss, loyalty, what happens between parents and their kids.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 4, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Meyer Lansky is one of the gravitational centers of Zachary Lazar's new novel, "I Pity the Poor Immigrant" (Little, Brown and Company: 256 pp., $25). Not so much the dapper, "Boardwalk Empire"-era gangster as Lansky in 1972 in Israel, seeking to retire there under the country's Law of Return. It's hardly the most celebrated era in Lansky's life, but Lazar was going for something other than the obvious. "The initial idea of this book was to put Meyer Lansky in the same room as King David from the Bible," Lazar said via Skype from his home office in New Orleans.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 15, 2013 | By Nicole Sperling
With "The Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown's news Tuesday morning that he would be releasing a new Robert Langdon adventure in May, we thought it wise to check in with the movie prospects for Brown's last Langdon tale, "The Lost Symbol," which resided on the New York Times hard-cover fiction bestseller list for 29 weeks and has 30 million copies in print worldwide. Sony's Columbia Pictures, which released the previous two films, "The DaVinci Code" and "Angels and Demons," owns the option to all of Brown's future projects involving Langdon, including "The Lost Symbol" and the upcoming "Inferno.
ENTERTAINMENT
August 7, 2011 | By David L. Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
House of Holes A Book of Raunch Nicholson Baker Simon & Schuster: 262 pp., $25 Nicholson Baker wasn't kidding when he subtitled "House of Holes," his new novel, "A Book of Raunch. " Indeed, it's a bona fide filth-fest, so unrelentingly graphic that there's not much I can quote from it in this review. At the same time, there's an innocence to "House of Holes," which is (if such a thing is possible) a dirty book without prurience, intended less to titillate than to amuse.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 6, 2013 | By David Ulin, Los Angeles Times Book Critic
When it comes to Stephen King, I'm partial to the smaller efforts: novellas, short novels, experiments, the quieter, more interior stuff. It's not that I don't like his big books - especially "The Shining," which remains the scariest thing I've ever read, and the 1996 novel "Desperation," an overarching consideration of sin and sacrifice and redemption, set in a Nevada mining town. Still, what makes King resonate for me is the detail work, the way he can get inside the most mundane situation and animate it, revealing in the process something of how we live.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 3, 2008 | From the Associated Press
Tom Wolfe is working on a new novel and will release it through a new publisher, ending a 40-year run with Farrar, Straus & Giroux and signing with Little, Brown & Co. "The opportunity to work with the American master Tom Wolfe is the kind of thrill and challenge that people entering book publishing dream of," Little, Brown publisher Michael Pietsch said Wednesday. One of the original "New Journalists" of the 1960s, the 76-year-old Wolfe is known for such bestselling novels as "The Bonfire of the Vanities" and "A Man in Full" and for such nonfiction classics as "The Right Stuff" and "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test."
ENTERTAINMENT
September 19, 2013 | By Maria Bustillos
"Who Asked You?" is Terry McMillan's eighth book, and it is a corker: a long, smooth, Indian-summer cocktail. For all the racy, scandalous pleasures in books such as "Waiting to Exhale" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," McMillan is a serious writer, the kind of novelist of whom the late John Gardner strongly approved ("true art is moral"). Her new book is rich in narrative tension, nuanced humor and moral heft absent from many a work of modern "literary fiction. " "The problem with a lot of us is that we don't have a moral compass," McMillan says.
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