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Books

The Knotty Nostalgia of the Hardy Boys Series

Why one writer still reads the wildly popular books with a mixture of love and disappointment, 60 years after they were revised to remove racist content

Ghost Wall Explores the Human Cost of Nativist Nostalgia

Sarah Moss’s new novel about Iron Age reenactors could have been a plain Brexit parable. Instead, it’s a deeper exploration of societal cruelty.

French Eroticism Withers in Adèle

With Leïla Slimani’s new novel, a literary genre gets its most joyless installment yet.

The Feud That Birthed the Electric Guitar

Les Paul and Leo Fender were fierce competitors. Their rivalry led them both in the same direction—toward the creation of the solid-bodied instrument that changed the course of rock music.

Chigozie Obioma’s Homerian Epic

The Man Booker finalist’s second book explores the transcontinental sacrifices made for love. It’s also an acute narrative about the indignities of traveling as an outsider.

The Joyce Carol Oates Story That Shares DNA With 'Cat Person’

What the debut writer Kristen Roupenian learned from a masterful tale that dramatizes the horrors of being a young woman

How to Tell an Open Secret

Three recent novels demonstrate how fiction can deftly capture the long-term effects of sexual assault and harassment.

To Understand Art, Think Biology

Just as cells are the building blocks of the human body, a painting’s points, lines, colors, and tensions are the building blocks of its life.

The President’s McFeast

The fast-food dinner Trump hosted was also an argument: about government, about political messaging, about himself.

A Novel Made for the “Yellow Vest” Moment

Michel Houellebecq’s latest provocation takes aim at the EU.

Kamala Harris’s Political Memoir Is an Uneasy Fit for the Digital Era

The senator’s new book shows the difficulty of translating short-form virality into a substantive text.

Debussy’s Radical Search for Simplicity

A biography published 100 years after the composer’s death reveals the worldly trials of an artist known for his airy fantasies.

How James Baldwin’s Writings About Love Evolved

The author is best known for arguing that emotional connection could help heal America’s racial divides. But his 1974 novel If Beale Street Could Talk focused instead on the bonds that held black people together.

Is Tony Soprano Dead or Not?

In a new, authoritative book by Matt Zoller Seitz and Alan Sepinwall, the Sopranos creator David Chase appears to make an accidental confession.

Fairy Tales for Young Socialists

A collection of political fables from late-19th- and early-20th-century Great Britain offers striking allegories that remain pertinent today.

Revisiting the Deep Sense of Place in Alice Munro’s Debut, 50 Years Later

Dance of the Happy Shades introduces young, female protagonists confronting expectations as firmly rooted as the rural landscape in which they live.

Uncovering the Roots of Caribbean Cooking

A lush book of recipes pays homage to the inventive culinary contributions of enslaved African women.

A Year of Miseducation

From Lauryn Hill to Cameron Post to Tara Westover, 2018 repeatedly asked the question, What does it mean to teach a person to surrender?

Edward Gorey and the Power of the Ineffable

The writer-illustrator, whose darkly comic works remain enormously influential today, disdained explanation in favor of the playfully irrational.