The Garden of Eden, By Ernest Hemingway (Scribner)
Reviewed by Terry Castle ("Gender Bending," September 2005)
"This unfinished novel, published posthumously, features a painfully mixed-up hero, a knockout scene of fetishistic haircutting, and sentences so beautiful one could cry."
A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby (Riverhead)
Reviewed by Jon Zobenica ("You Might as Well Live," July/August 2005)
"Nick Hornby's zippy novels High Fidelity and About a Boy, plumbed the depths of humankind's would-be shallows.... In his latest Hornby has almost perfectly reversed [his] formula, and to the extent that he succeeds, he fails."
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf)
Reviewed by Joseph O'Neill ("New Fiction," May 2005)
"Suffice it to say that Ishiguro serves up the saddest, most persuasive science fiction you'll read."
Ulysses, by James Joyce (Vintage)
Reviewed by Sally Singer ("Retail Therapy," May 2005)
"Joyce offers a sympathetic glimpse into the empowering nature of fashion wisely bought."
Absolute Friends, by John le Carré (Little, Brown)
Reviewed by B. R. Myers ("Tradecraft," April 2005)
"This is le Carré's first truly bad novel, one that seems almost calculated to give the lie to each building-blurb of his reputation."
The Hot Kid, by Elmore Leonard (William Morrow)
Reviewed by B. R. Myers ("The Prisoner of Cool," November 2005)
"Anyone who reads the first chapter—a wonderful short story in its own right—will probably care enough about the outcome to enjoy reading on to the last fifth of the book, which is almost as good."
A Hero of Our Time, by Mikhail Lermontov, translated by Hugh Aplin (Hesperus/Trafalgar)
Reviewed by Christopher Hitchens ("A Doomed Young Man," June 2005)
"These five nicely chiseled stories, giving Rashomon-like perspectives on the short life of a doomed young man, are in a most intriguing way 'of their time.'"
Saturday, by Ian McEwan (Doubleday/Nan Talese)
Reviewed by Christopher Hitchens ("Civilization and Its Malcontents," April 2005)
"With this novel the soft and the hard McEwan come into an exquisite balance, just as the thin and objective blade pares away at the spongy, vulnerable tissue of the cerebellum."
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell (Warner Books)
Reviewed by Allan Gurganus ("One Great Book Per Life," March 2005)
"Patterned on Thackeray's Vanity Fair, the novel (and Peggy's Victorian hypochondria) sidelined her for years. When the book became 1936's best seller, winning the Pulitzer, she was doomed to spend the rest of her foreshortened life answering letters from every fan who idly pestered or praised her."
Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami (Knopf)
Reviewed by Jon Zobenica ("New Fiction," May 2005)
"Perhaps it needn't be said that this meta-fictional fun house isn't perfect, but underpinning it all is a surprisingly patient, deeply affecting meditation on perfection itself, specifically romantic perfection."