Works of mystery and mastery by three expert storytellers.
The Scottish novelist Andrew O’Hagan has explored a wide range of subjects in his beguiling fiction and nonfiction, including religious faith in an age of doubt in Be Near Me and the idea of “missing persons” in The Missing. His latest work, The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, is one of his most playful and fascinating—the story of actress and global sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, as told through the perceptive eyes of her canine companion (and gift from Frank Sinatra) Maf. Andrew O’Hagan shared three of his favorite books with the Barnes & Noble Review.
By Robert Louis Stevenson
“Some stories are so brimming with psychological and cultural truth that they seem not to be invented by an individual but by a whole culture. Dr. Jekyll is Scottish all the way down to its strange bones: a tale of how we are, each of us, more than one person. It is exciting, surreally in touch with our deepest instincts, and Stevenson wrote it in a few days’ fever after a nightmare. Once read, the book never leaves your mind, and it seems, indeed, to reflect your own mind back at itself.”
By By Don DeLillo
“DeLillo is a novelist of such nervous, kinetic energy that his books can seem almost clairvoyant. Libra tells the story of the JFK assassination, using the greatest novelistic skill to animate the thoughts and paranoias of those concerned. You feel involved and implicated as you read, and the novel is filled with beautiful, arresting sentences. It’s a great treat, and reading it can make you feel you are travelling under the skin of your times.”
By James Joyce
“Is good reading good living? Is great writing great morality? The answer to both questions may be yes if you believe in James Joyce. This early book of stories reveals a man writing like an archangel, summoning human loneliness and need with enormous insight. Prose in English had seldom seemed so human and gracious and talkative. You get to the last story, “The Dead,” in a kind of swoon, feeling the weight of regret and human faith ‘falling faintly through the universe’ along with the snow, upon ‘all the living and the dead.’ A perfect, astonishing book.”