Annal: 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography

Results of the National Book Critics Circle Award in the year 2005.

Book:Them: A Memoir of Parents

Them: A Memoir of Parents

Francine du Plessix Gray

The much-acclaimed biographer’s unflinchingly honest, wise, and forgiving portrait of her own famous parents: two wildly talented Russian émigrés who fled wartime Paris to become one of New York’s first and grandest power couples.

Tatiana du Plessix, the wife of a French diplomat, was a beautiful, sophisticated “white Russian” who had been the muse of the famous Russian poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. Alexander Liberman, the ambitious son of a prominent Russian Jew, was a gifted magazine editor and aspiring artist. As part of the progressive artistic Russian émigré community living in Paris in the 1930s, the two were destined to meet. They began a passionate affair, and the year after Paris was occupied in World War II they fled to New York with Tatiana’s young daughter, Francine.

There they determinedly rose to the top of high society, holding court to a Who’s Who list of the midcentury’s intellectuals…[more]

Book:Fat Girl

Fat Girl: A True Story

Judith Moore

A nonfiction She’s Come Undone, Fat Girl is a powerfully honest and compulsively readable memoir of obsession with food, and with one’s body, penned by a Guggenheim and NEA award-winning writer.

For any woman who has ever had a love/hate relationship with food and with how she looks; for anyone who has knowingly or unconsciously used food to try to fill the hole in his heart or soothe the craggy edges of his psyche, Fat Girl is a brilliantly rendered, angst-filled coming-of-age story of gain and loss. From the lush descriptions of food that call to mind the writings of M. F. K. Fisher at her finest, to the heartbreaking accounts of Moore’s deep longing for a family and a sense of belonging and love, Fat Girl stuns and shocks, saddens and tickles.

Book:Istanbul

Istanbul: Memories and the City

Orhan Pamuk

A portrait, by turns intimate and panoramic, of one of the world’s great cities, by its foremost man of letters, author of the acclaimed novels Snow and My Name Is Red.

Blending reminiscence with history; family photographs with portraits of poets and pashas; art criticism, metaphysical musing, and, now and again, a fanciful tale, Orhan Pamuk invents an ingenious form to evoke his lifelong home, the city that forged his imagination. He begins with his childhood among the eccentric extended Pamuk family in the dusty, carpeted, and hermetically sealed apartment building they shared. In this place came his first intimations of the melancholy awareness that binds all residents of his city together: that of living in the seat of ruined imperial glories, in a country trying to become “modern” at the dizzying crossroads of East and West. This elegiac communal spirit overhangs Pamuk’s reflections as he introduces the writers…[more]

Book:Two Lives: A Memoir

Two Lives: A Memoir

Vikram Seth

A heartrending new book—the story of a marriage and the story of two lives—from the author of the international bestselling novel A Suitable Boy

Shanti Behari Seth was born on the eighth day of the eighth month in the eighth year of the twentieth century; he died two years before its close. He was brought up in India in the apparently vigorous but dying Raj and was sent by his family in the 1930s to Berlin—though he could not speak a word of German—to study medicine and dentistry. It was here, before he migrated to Britain, that Shanti’s path first crossed that of his future wife.

Helga Gerda Caro, known to everyone as “Henny” was also born in 1908, in Berlin, to a Jewish family—cultured, patriotic, and intensely German. When the family decided to take Shanti as a lodger, Henny’s first reaction was, “Don’t take the…[more]

Book:The Year of Magical Thinking

The Year of Magical Thinking

Joan Didion

From one of America’s iconic writers, a stunning book of electric honesty and passion. Joan Didion explores an intensely personal yet universal experience: a portrait of a marriage—and a life, in good times and bad—that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.

Several days before Christmas 2003, John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion saw their only daughter, Quintana, fall ill with what seemed at first flu, then pneumonia, then complete septic shock. She was put into an induced coma and placed on life support. Days later—the night before New Year’s Eve–the Dunnes were just sitting down to dinner after visiting the hospital when John Gregory Dunne suffered a massive and fatal coronary. In a second, this close, symbiotic partnership of forty years was over. Four weeks later, their daughter pulled through. Two months after that, arriving at LAX, she collapsed and underwent six hours of brain…[more]

Views: 996 • Modified: • Elapsed: 0.037 sec