18 Brilliant Books for Fall
Gary Shteyngart's novel about a boorish Wall Streeter on a hilarious and heartbreaking trip across America, an education from historian Jill Lepore on the narrative of the United States, mind-expanding works of pulp fiction and philosophy, and more.
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The Real Lolita
In her gripping literary investigation, The Real Lolita (Ecco), journalist Sarah Weinman hunts for clues connecting a flesh-and-blood kidnapping case to Vladimir Nabokov's indelible novel. In March 1948, on a classmate's dare, 10-year-old Sally Horner strolled into a Camden, New Jersey, Woolworth's to shoplift a 5-cent notebook. Convicted rapist Frank La Salle, then in his 50s, witnessed the incident and, posing as an FBI agent, ensnared the frightened Horner in a sordid two-year affair that took them from Atlantic City to California, where the actual FBI finally rescued her. Playing bookish sleuth, Weinman suggests that the tragic tale of La Salle and Horner influenced the creation of Lolita's loquacious creep, Humbert Humbert, and Dolores Haze, the puerile apple of his eye. Glimpses into Nabokov's process will tantalize die-hard fans, and true-crime aficionados will relish Weinman's assiduous reporting. The book also memorializes Horner's too-brief life: She died in a car crash just two years after being freed.
— Michelle Hart