Results of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in the year 1995.
“I was born with skins too few. Or they were scrubbed off me by…robust and efficient hands.”
The experiences absorbed through these “skins too few” are evoked in this memoir of Doris Lessing’s childhood and youth as the daughter of a British colonial family in Persia and Southern Rhodesia Honestly and with overwhelming immediacy, Lessing maps the growth of her consciousness, her sexuality, and her politics, offering a rare opportunity to get under her skin and discover the forces that made her one of the most distinguished writers of our time.
Drawing on nearly 2,000 previously unpublished letters, Brenda Maddox presents a rich and startlingly new portrait of D. H. Lawrence: a hilarious mimic, a lover of nature, an inspired teacher, a brilliant journalist, an ecological visionary, and, above all, a married man. This award-winning work examines Lawrence’s perplexing, restless life through the greatest contradiction in it—his marriage-taking it not just as another aspect of Lawrence but as the encompassing whole. His marriage to Frieda von Richthofen Weekley was a mismatch made in heaven, and yet it lasted until the tubercular Lawrence lost his heroic struggle for life, a struggle in which, he told Frieda, “nothing mattered but you.” Or so she claimed.
At the age of fifty, Alix Kates Shulman left a city life dense with political activism, family, and literary community and went to stay alone in a small cabin on an island off the Maine coast. Living without plumbing, electricity, or a telephone, she discovered in herself a new independence and a growing sense of oneness with the world that redefined her notions of waste, time, necessity, and pleasure. With wit, lyricism, and fearless honesty, Shulman describes a quest that speaks to us all: to build a new life of creativity and spirituality, self-reliance and self-fulfillment.
In Pharaoh’s Army is Tobias Wolff’s unflinching account of his tour in Vietnam, his tangled journey there and back. Using his old wiles and talents, he passes through boot camp, trains as a paratrooper, volunteers for the Special Forces, studies Vietnamese, and—without really believing it himself—becomes an officer in the U.S. Army. Then, inexorably, he finds himself drawn into the war, sent to the Mekong Delta as adviser to a Vietnamese battalion. More or less innocent, self-deluded but rapidly growing less so, he dedicates himself not to victory but to survival. For despite his impressive credentials, he recognizes in himself laughably little aptitude for the military life and no taste at all for the war. He ricochets between boredom and terror and grief for lost friends; then and in the years to come, he reckons the cost of staying alive. A superb memoir of war, In Pharaoh’s Army is an intimate recounting of the central event of our recent past. Once again Tobias Wolff has combined the art of the best fiction and the immediacy of personal history - with authority, humanity, and sure conviction.
In this richly textured new biography, Susan Quinn presents us with a far more complicated picture of the woman we thought we knew. Drawing on family documents, Quinn sheds new light on the tragic losses and patriotic passion that infused Marie Sklodowska Curie’s early years in Poland. And through access to Marie Curie’s journal, closed to researchers until 1990, we hear in her own words of the intimacy and joy of her marriage to Pierre Curie and the depth of her despair at his premature death.
The image of Marie Curie as the grieving widow, attired always in black, is familiar to many of us. Much less well known is the affair with a married colleague that helped her recover from her loss. The testimonials of friends, hitherto unavailable, lend this love story a sometimes painful immediacy. Marie Curie’s public triumphs are well known: she was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize and one of the few people, to date, to receive a second. Unknown or barely known are the defeats she suffered:…[more]