We’re always on the lookout for books that strike a chord with our readers. In our New & Notable series you’ll find selections that appeal to our editors and that we’d like to share. This week, Tessa Hadley takes us behind the private and public lives of unforgettable characters; Whitney Otto re-imagines the lives of several phenomenal women photographers; and Penny Marshall reminds us that fame and fortune haven’t changed her as the girl next door (although they have tried).
Short Fiction | Literary
Married Love and Other Stories by Tessa Hadley is a masterful collection of short fiction from one of today’s most accomplished storytellers. These tales showcase the qualities for which Tessa Hadley has long been praised: her humor, warmth, and psychological acuity; her powerful, precise, and emotionally dense prose; her unflinching examinations of family relationships.
Here are stories that range widely across generations and classes, exploring the private and public lives of unforgettable characters: a young girl who haunts the edges of her parents’ party; a wife released by the sudden death of her film-director husband; an eighteen-year-old who insists on marrying her music professor, only to find herself shut out from his secrets. In this stunning collection, Hadley evokes worlds that expand in the imagination far beyond the pages, capturing domestic dramas, generational sagas, wrenching love affairs and epiphanies, and distilling them to remarkable effect. (Excerpted from Harper Perennial, publisher.)
“Filled with exquisitely calibrated gradations and expressions of class, conducted with symphonic intensity and complexity….[An] understatedly beautiful collection….Extraordinarily well-made.” — The New York Times Book Review
Genre Fiction | Biographical | Women | Photography
Bestselling author Whitney Otto’ s Eight Girls Taking Pictures is a profoundly moving portrayal of the lives of women, imagining the thoughts and circumstances that produced eight famous female photographers of the twentieth century. Of the girls who take the pictures—Cymbeline, Amadora, Clara, Lenny, Charlotte, Miri, Jessie, and Jenny—the first six are based on real photographers. These women lead interesting, bohemian lives: they take lovers, travel, get involved in wars and revolutions, but what they really have in common is the struggle to find their voices, to deal with and confound expectations of women, and to balance work with love and motherhood. (Excerpted from Scribner, publisher.)
“A lovely work of fiction…Otto mixes the personal histories of her subjects with their camera-eye view of the world to create an intriguing narrative. [She] has done what literary fiction can do best — bring the reader into the hearts and minds of these fierce, radical artists.” — Chicago Tribune
Memoir | Comedians
My Mother Was Nuts is an intimate backstage pass to Penny Marshall’s personal life, her breakout role on The Odd Couple, her exploits with Cindy Williams and John Belushi, and her travels across Europe with Art Garfunkel on the back of a motorcycle. We see Penny get married. And divorced. And married again (the second time to Rob Reiner). We meet a young Carrie Fisher, whose close friendship with Penny has spanned decades. And we see Penny at work with Tom Hanks, Mark Wahlberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Robert De Niro, and Whitney Houston.
Throughout it all, from her childhood spent tap dancing in the Bronx, to her rise as the star of Laverne & Shirley, Penny lived by simple rules: “try hard, help your friends, don’t get too crazy, and have fun.” With humor and heart, My Mother Was Nuts reveals there’s no one else quite like Penny Marshall.
“[I]f you learn anything about Marshall from this book, it’s that she doesn’t wallow. (Or hold a grudge; she made sure the mother who gave her so little was well cared for when she developed dementia.) She’s a girl who wants to have fun. Although she levels with the reader about her flaws and regrets, she’d rather focus on what works than dwell on what doesn’t.” — Roz Warren, Women’s Voices for Change
Related: Roz Reads: My Mother Was Nuts by Roz Warren (Full Review)