May's best books are here.
Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down By Rosecrans Baldwin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26) An enchantingly funny book with a decidedly French accent, Baldwin’s narrative about his time in France working for an advertising agency and trying to write his novel, is as rich and delicious as a box of bonbons. He learns you have to eat lunch because it’s part of your pay, even goofing off will not get you fired, and Paris has a rhyme, rhythm and reason all it’s own. Frisky, adventurous, and so much fun, you’ll want to book your own ticket.
Are You my Mother?: A Comic Drama By Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $22) A so-called Jungian “comic drama,” Bechdel’s graphic novel unravels her difficult relationship with her distant and hyper-critical mother, who is very much alive during the writing of the book. Calling on such luminaries as Alice Miller and Virginia Wolfe to help her understand the woman who raised, sometimes nurtured and often emotionally bruised her, Bechdel crafts a stinging, moving portrait of the missed chances of love.
Calling Invisible Women By Jeanne Ray (Crown, $24.00) Ever feel that the more you age, the more you’re vanishing? So does Clover Hobart, a middle-aged woman whose husband and grown children take her for granted, and whose newspaper job keeps getting cut back. But when she wakes up invisible, she does what all modern women do–she joins a support group and begins to power-up on all the possibilities her new state affords. P.S. This novel is written by Pulitzer Prize winner Ann Patchett’s mother, so you know you want to read it.
Drowned By Therese Bohman (Other Press, $14.95) When at-loose-ends-in-her-life Marina comes to visit her sister and her brother-in-law, Gabriel, she senses something isn’t quite right in their relationship, even as she feels herself drawn to him. But when her sister drowns after hitting her head on a rock by the lake, Marina begins to wonder, just how innocent is Gabriel? A moody masterpiece set in the Swedish countryside, Drowned is so richly atmospheric and so full of tension and impending doom, you may want to wear gloves so you don’t bite all your fingernails off.
Caroline Leavitt is headed for the hammock with books in tow. She can be reached at www.carolineleavitt.com.
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