Besides long titles, McSweeney’s boasts the oldest debut novelist of all time — 90-year-old screenwriter (and Mr. Magoo co-creator) MILLARD KAUFMAN, who is bringing out Bowl of Cherries (McSweeney’s, October 1), a picaresque about a 14-year-old who gets kicked out of Yale.
Finally, if you’ve never read War and Peace, now’s the time — Andrew Bromfield’s new translation of the LEV TOLSTOY classic just came out (Ecco, September 4), and one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky is due to follow (Knopf, October 16).
This fall is set up to be a controversial one in non-fiction. Out in front of this pack is NAOMI KLEIN’s The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Metropolitan Books, September 14), an examination of how US military intervention — covert or overt — has preceded free-market revolutions around the world.
American Prospect editor ROBERT KUTTNER looks at the result of this imperialism at home in The Squandering of America (Knopf, November 6). UMBERTO ECO turns up the heat from overseas with Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism (Harcourt, November 12); VALERIE PLAME gets revenge in Fair Game: My Life As a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House (Simon & Schuster, October 22). Sounds as if CRAIG UNGER’s Fall of the House of Bush: How a Group of True Believers Put America on the Road to Armageddon might not be exaggerating. (Scribner, November 20).
STEPHEN COLBERT should leaven things up with I Am America (And So Can You!) (Grand Central, October 9). Likewise LEMONY SNICKET in The Latke That Couldn’t Stop Screaming (McSweeney’s, October 1). STEVE MARTIN gets serious in Born Standing Up (Scribner, November 20).
Fans of New Yorker critic ALEX ROSS will want his study of 20th-century classical music, The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the 20th Century (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, October 16). You can also save your pennies for OLIVER SACKS’s Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain. (Knopf, October 22).
A few years after her father was pointed out as the model for the “passing” mixed-race protagonist of Philip Roth’s The Human Stain, BLISS BROYARD tells her side of the story in One Drop (Little, Brown, September 27). SHALOM AUSLANDER looks poised to start up his own genre with Foreskin’s Lament (Riverhead, October 4) a funny Orthodox Jewish coming-of-age memoir.
As for biography, there are a few exciting doorstops — like JOHN RICHARDSON’s A Life of Picasso: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 (Knopf, November 1). But the season standouts will be short, like JANET MALCOLM’s elegant new study of Gertrude Stein and her lover, Two Lives: Gertrude & Alice (Yale, September 28) and ANDREW WILSON’s Harold Robbins: The Man Who Invented Sex. (Bloomsbury, September 18)
Cleanse yourself from this tawdry-fest with essays by New Yorker writers JOHN UPDIKE (Due Consideration, Knopf, October 29), JUDITH THURMAN (Cleopatra’s Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire, Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, October 16), and the late, great EDMUND WILSON (Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1920s & 30s and Literary Essays and Reviews of the 1930s & 40s; Library of America, October 4). Yale’s HAROLD BLOOM looks at some Fallen Angels (Yale University Press, October 28); Harvard’s HELEN VENDLER puts another legendary modern poet under her critical microscope in Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and the Lyric Form (Harvard University Press, November 15).