The Cruelty Is Coming From Inside the House

PANICS, by Barbara Molinard, translated by Emma Ramadan
BAD HANDWRITING, by Sara Mesa, translated by Katie Whittemore

Virgil, Emily Dickinson, Franz Kafka: It has become something of a cliché, authors on their deathbeds requesting that their unpublished works be destroyed (requests that literary executors have a fortunate habit of betraying). But the prolific 20th-century French writer Barbara Molinard was unwilling to take any such chances, tearing her short stories to shreds as soon as she wrote them. The malevolent and disorienting tales in her 1969 collection, “Panics,” represent her only surviving work. Saved from destruction by Molinard’s friend Marguerite Duras, who estimated that these 14 stories represent “maybe a hundredth” of what Molinard wrote, they have been translated for the first time into English, by Emma Ramadan.

6 Paperbacks to Read This Week

Miguel Salazar�� Reading in Brooklyn

6 Paperbacks to Read This Week

Miguel Salazar�� Reading in Brooklyn

This week’s roundup gathers a range of titles, from Colson Whitehead’s first crime novel set in 1960s Harlem to a reported account of the believers working to stave off climate apocalypse and slowly repair the planet.

Here are six new paperbacks we recommend →

6 Paperbacks to Read This Week

Miguel Salazar�� Reading in Brooklyn

HARLEM SHUFFLE, by Colson Whitehead.

Whitehead’s first crime novel is a sweaty and authoritative portrait of 1960s Harlem and follows a striving furniture salesman who becomes entangled in an illicit side hustle that begins with selling stolen jewelry and snowballs into his involvement in a major heist against his will.

6 Paperbacks to Read This Week

Miguel Salazar�� Reading in Brooklyn

BELIEVERS: Making a Life at the End of the World, by Lisa Wells.

A journalist visits environmentalists, professional trackers and restoration radicals dedicated to creating a life at the end of the world. Wells “never loses sight of her inspired objective, to restore and revive what she refers to as ‘the promised land,’” our reviewer, Gretel Ehrlich, wrote.

6 Paperbacks to Read This Week

Miguel Salazar�� Reading in Brooklyn

THE COLLECTION PLATE: Poems, by Kendra Allen.

An established essayist echoes recent greats — from Lucille Clifton to C.D. Wright — in a wide-ranging debut poetry collection that includes gospel traditions as well as musical quotations from Earl Sweatshirt to Ace Hood.

6 Paperbacks to Read This Week

Miguel Salazar�� Reading in Brooklyn

REIGN OF TERROR: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump, by Spencer Ackerman.

Ackerman’s endless reserves of knowledge as a national security journalist are deployed in this shrewd narrative of the last 20 years of the War on Terror and how it has left an indelible mark on the American psyche.

6 Paperbacks to Read This Week

Miguel Salazar�� Reading in Brooklyn

EVERYBODY: A Book About Freedom, by Olivia Laing.

Laing, whose nonfiction has blended criticism and memoir to explore loneliness and addiction, draws on a stable of luminaries, from Susan Sontag to Malcolm X, and on her personal life to explore the body, its relationship to freedom and the historical forces that have constrained it.

6 Paperbacks to Read This Week

Miguel Salazar�� Reading in Brooklyn

THE ARCHER, by Shruti Swamy.

In this assured, vibrant novel, Vidya, a young girl in 1960s Bombay, navigates the sudden absence and rediscovery of her mother and baby brother, who disruptively burst in and out of her life just as Vidya finds her calling in Indian classical dance.

Published on August 5.

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