Was looking through the new catalogue for NYRB Classics earlier this afternoon. Of course, when I say, "looking through" - I was shopping.
Other girls buy shoes and lingerie via catalogue, I buy books. ;p
Some of the forthcoming titles that's on my To Check Out List (All book descriptions from Amazon.com):
- Afloat by Guy De Maupassant
Published February 19, 2008
Afloat, originally published as Sur l’eau in 1888, is a book of dazzling but treacherously shifting currents, a seemingly simple logbook of a sailing cruise along the French Mediterranean coast that opens up to reveal unexpected depths, as Guy de Maupassant merges fact and fiction, dream and documentation in a wholly original style. Humorous and troubling stories, unreliable confessions, stray reminiscences, and thoughts on life, love, art, nature, and society all find a place in Maupassant’s pages, which are, in conception and in effect, so many reflections of the fluid sea on which he finds himself–happily but forever precariously–afloat. Afloat is thus a book that in both content and form courts risk while setting out to chart the meaning, and limits, of freedom, a book that makes itself up as it goes along and in doing so proves as startling and compellingly vital as the paintings of Maupassant’s contemporaries van Gogh and Gauguin.
- Alien Hearts by Guy De Maupassant
Published February 19, 2008
Alien Hearts, originally published as Notre coeur in 1890, was the last novel that Guy de Maupassant completed before succumbing to the effects of tertiary syphilis of which he was to die at forty-three. It is the most original and surprising of his novels and the one in which he attains a truly tragic perception of the wounded human heart. Alien Hearts is the story of three lovers bound by bitterness as much as passion. Maupassant’s artist hero falls for a woman of the world, a glacially dazzling beauty whose past with an abusive husband leads her to hold him–and everyone–at arm’s length. He seeks solace with his doting mistress, but remains racked by pointless infatuation. Richard Howard’s new English version of this complex and brooding psychological novel reveals the final, unexpected flowering of the great French realist’s art.
- The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
Published April 15, 2008
The post-office girl is Christine, who looks after her ailing mother and toils in a provincial Austrian post office in the years just after the Great War. One afternoon, as she is dozing among the official forms and stamps, a telegraph arrives addressed to her. It is from her rich aunt, who lives in America and writes requesting that Christine join her and her husband in a Swiss Alpine resort. After a dizzying train ride, Christine finds herself at the top of the world, enjoying a life of privilege that she had never imagined.
But Christine’s aunt drops her as abruptly as she picked her up, and soon the young woman is back at the provincial post office, consumed with disappointment and bitterness. Then she meets Ferdinand, a wounded but eloquent war veteran who is able to give voice to the disaffection of his generation. Christine’s and Ferdinand’s lives spiral downward, before Ferdinand comes up with a plan which will be either their salvation or their doom.
Stefan Zweig worked on The Post Office Girl, originally published as Rausch der Verwandlung in 1982, in intervals for more than twenty years. The manuscript of the book was found completed and awaiting only minor revisions after his suicide in 1941. Never before published in English, this extraordinary book is an unexpected and haunting foray into noir fiction by one of the masters of the psychological novel.
- Belchamber by Howard Sturgis
Published April 22, 2008
Afterword by E. M. Forster and introduction by Edmund White
Charles Edwin William Augustus Chambers–Marquis and Earl of Belchamber, Viscount Charmington, and Baron St. Edmund and Chambers–known familiarly as Sainty, is the scion of an ancient English aristocratic family. Behind him stretches a rogues’ gallery of picturesque upper-crust scoundrels. But he is uninterested in going to hounds or drinking or whoring in the great tradition of his forebears, and though he sympathizes with his puritanical Scottish mother, he also lacks her unrelenting moral self-assurance. Sainty is instead a sensitive soul, physically delicate, sexually timid, intellectually inclined, deeply decent, and constitutionally incapable of asserting himself. When it comes to assuming the responsibilities of his inheritance, to managing his feckless younger brother Albert or fathoming his sly cousin Clyde, and, above all, to the business of marrying and continuing the family line, he hasn’t a prayer.
Howard Sturgis, a Bostonian who lived most of his life in England, was close friends with Henry James and Edith Wharton. He wrote three novels, of which Belchamber is the finest. A brilliant, frequently hilarious satire of the English ruling class, it is also a powerful lament for individualism destroyed and innocence deceived. It is this that marks it, notwithstanding its English setting, as a profoundly American book and one of the overlooked triumphs of our literature.
Of course there's a few more titles to be released later next year, but these are the ones I have my eyes on.