Over at the LA Times, D.T. Max gives NYRB a general high-five, while singling out three for special priase:
Anyone who reads a lot knows how remarkable an
experience it is to find four wonderful books in a row and how much
gratitude you feel toward the publishers behind them. That’s the
experience I’ve had with New York Review Books — not entirely
unexpected as its editor is an old friend whose literary smarts I’ve
learned to value over the years.
The four I enjoyed most in the past year or so started with
"Cassandra at the Wedding" (232 pp., $12.95 paper), Dorothy Baker’s
novel about a lesbian graduate student and her stormy relationship with
her twin sister. After this, I turned to Upamanyu Chatterjee’s "English, August" (336
pp., $14.95 paper), a funny, fat novel about a hipster in the Indian
civil service. These were followed by a slim noir murder mystery, "The Big Clock" by Kenneth Fearing (200 pp., $14 paper), and "A Time of Gifts" (384 pp., $16.95 paper), the record of British author Patrick Leigh Fermor’s trek as an 18-year-old, mostly across Mitteleuropa.
New York Review Books, the book-publishing arm of the
well-respected journal, wasn’t the original publisher of any of these —
Fearing’s dates from 1946, Baker’s from 1962, Leigh Fermor’s from 1977
and Chatterjee’s from 1988 — but it reissued them as part of its list
of about 200 titles now available. This series bids fair to be the most
interesting reissue series of our lifetimes.
Why? What do they do so well? Their line offers readers
discernment, innovation and the varied thorniness of the best
literature, whether one’s taste is for Renaissance physician Girolamo
Cardano’s improbable "Book of My Life" or for Argentine novelist Julio
Cortázar’s unsettling "The Winners."
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