Brand New Books to Give to Your Best Friends
'Tis here: the most thoughtful books of the season.
2 of 5
W.W. Norton & Company
"Kathy, by which I mean I, was getting married," begins this dizzying high-wire act of a novel. Under ordinary circumstances, that "I" might be construed as the author herself, but Kathy bears a deliberate resemblance to the late Kathy Acker, a literary superstar who died of breast cancer in 1997. Here, the feminist, punkish Acker is reimagined as a 40-year-old jet-setter in the summer of 2017. Having survived a relapse of cancer and countless doomed love affairs, commitment-averse Kathy has left her New York home and is ambivalently planning her nuptials in England. Lavish entertaining (rendered in pitch-perfect comedy-of-manners prose) is set against a backdrop of terrifying news stories: hate-fueled carnage in Charlottesville. Flooding in Houston. The fallout of Brexit. North Korean nuclear threats. Everyone is on edge, none more so than the insomniac bride, who foresees "a future run by strongmen ... the liberal democracy in which she had grown up revealed as fragile beyond measure." The formerly insatiable Kathy finds herself craving one thing: "Just let me learn that love is more than me."
— Dawn Raffel