3 New Books We Recommend This Week
The novel THE WAR FOR GLORIA, written by Atticus Lish. ) (Knopf, $28.00). “Preparation for the Next Life,” Lish’s second novel (after “Preparation for the Next Life,” which received the 2015 PEN/Faulkner Award), is a devastating depiction of a mother and son dealing with her terminal sickness.
The protagonist of the novel, Corey, grows up almost entirely without a father in and around Boston, and he is constantly looking for ways to show himself. Gloria, Corey’s mother, suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Corey cares for her daily.
The details are intimate and frightening, and they serve to propel the narrative’s central conflict to a certain extent. Fighting, building, boat work, sexual longing, and disease are all topics that Lish writes about with equal skill. ‘It’s easy to come into contact with dark corners of the psyche,’ writes our book critic, Dwight Garner, of the novel. It is “powerful, sophisticated, gloomy, and most of all compelling; it earns the right to elicit emotional responses from the audience.”
David A. Price’s book GENIUSES AT WAR: Bletchley Park, Colossus, and the Dawn of the Digital Age is a must-read. (Knopf, $28.00).
Price reminds us that the analysts at Bletchley Park not only helped to the victory over the Nazis during World War II by breaking German codes, but they also constructed the world’s first true computer, ushering in the modern era of information technology.
Thomas E. Ricks writes in his newest military history column that having that new machine, which they dubbed Colossus, was “like going from a World War I airplane to a rocket.” “It is remarkable that, in the midst of a worldwide war and surrounded by a military hierarchy, the scientists, engineers, and mathematicians working at Bletchley Park devised a management style that was remarkably inventive and egalitarian.”
DIRTY WORK: Essential Jobs and the Hidden Toll of Inequality in America, published by Eyal Press, is a book about essential jobs and the hidden toll of inequality in America. Farrar, Straus Giroux (Farrar, Straus & Giroux; $28.) Press analyzes a number of morally ambiguous vocations — including drone warfare operators and prison psychologists — and demonstrates how such employment is tacitly allowed by society while simultaneously being rendered invisible in order not to disturb our collective conscience.
It is a testament to his insight and vision, writes Tamsin Shaw in her review, that despite the ugliness to which he exposes us on almost every page, he still inspires us to set aside cynicism and pessimism, and join him in finding ways to strengthen the moral bonds that bind us all together despite our flaws and failings.