“The Names” by Don DeLillo
If “White Noise” was Don DeLillo’s commercial breakthrough, “The Names” was his stylistic one. Set primarily in Greece and India, the novel follows James Axton, a risk analyst for a company overseeing catastrophe insurance for companies abroad, possibly affiliated with the CIA. Axton becomes obsessed by a series of killings in the region, purportedly staged by a cult dedicated to the worship of the alphabet. DeLillo takes this language worship to heart, and each of his sentences is a master class in control and sound, rhythm and form.
— Hal Hlavinka, Community Bookstore [43 Seventh Ave. between Carroll Street and Garfield Place in Park Slope, (718) 783–3075, www.commun
“The Redemption of Galen Pike” by Carys Davies
In the title story of this short story collection, Davies sets up her shot so perfectly that you don’t see the target until it is already bleeding. The redemption in question bristles with an electric irony so sly, it might be easy to miss if it weren’t both shocking and satisfying. Davies throws the reader into a constructed relationship between puritan do-gooder Patience Haim and Galen Pike, a ruffian awaiting the gallows. The tale meditates on the weird relational web of humans, but it also tells a damn good story.
— Ashanti White-Wallace, Word [126 Franklin St. at Milton Street in Greenpoint, (718) 383–0096, www.wordbr
Greenlight Bookstore’s pick:
“Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World” by Kumari Jayawardena
Publishing is alive with books about feminism! Many good, many pink, many furthering the project of American exceptionalism. But this book, written more than 30 years ago, does not wrest figures from their historical context to fit the Western imperialist sense of individual empowerment as feminism. Instead, Jayawardena excavates early women’s history movements of the global south as they arise pre- and post-colonialism and in conversation with each other, not as an ideology imported from the West. Lean in to this book: the print is small to fit in all the history.
— Stephanie Bartolome, Greenlight Bookstore [686 Fulton St. between S. Elliott Place and S. Portland Avenue in Fort Greene, (718) 246–0200, www.greenl
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