brooklyn book store

these just in … 14 January, 2008

David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, The Courilof Affair (Everyman’s Library)
by Irene Nemirovsky, Translated by Sandra Smith

Hardcover $25.00 - 10%

In 2006 English readers worldwide were introduced to Irène Némirovsky’s rediscovered masterpiece, Suite Française, which topped just about every “best of” list that year, including our own. Thanks to the editors of the Everyman’s Library 20th-Century Classics series, a second wave of the prolific author’s writing has just hit our shores. In a single volume, readers can find four of Nemirovsky’s gem-like early novellas-David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, and The Courilof Affair-with all the trimmings: a shrewd introduction by Claire Messud (The Emperor’s Children) and a detailed chronology of the author’s life and times. These first novellas demonstrate Némirovsky’s genius for exposing an individual’s virtues and flaws, much like a jeweler examining a diamond under a loupe. Potentially one-dimensional characters such as a greedy businessman or a spiteful teenager emerge from these stories as multi-faceted figures whose questionable beliefs and actions compel us to re-examine our own. Don’t miss these short, but potent tales.

Tom Waits’ Swordfishtrombones (33 1/3 Series)
by David Smay

Paperback $10.95

Two entwined narratives run through the creation of Swordfishtrombones and form the backbone of this book. As the 1970s ended, Waits felt increasingly constrained and trapped by his persona and career. Bitter and desperately unhappy, he moved to New York in 1979 to change his life. It wasn’t working. But at his low point, he got the phone call that changed everything: Francis Ford Coppola tapped Tom to write the score for One From the Heart. Waits moved back to Los Angeles to work at Zoetrope’s Hollywood studio for the next 18 months. He cleaned up, disciplined himself as a songwriter and musician, collaborated closely with Coppola, and met a script analyst named Kathleen Brennan - his “only true love”.

They married within 2 months at the Always and Forever Yours Wedding Chapel at 2am. Swordfishtrombones was the first thing Waits recorded after his marriage, and it was at Kathleen’s urging that he made a record that conceded exactly nothing to his record label, or the critics, or his fans. There aren’t many love stories where the happy ending sounds like a paint can tumbling in an empty cement mixer.

Kathleen Brennan was sorely disappointed by Tom’s record collection. She forced him out of his comfortable jazzbo pocket to take in foreign film scores, German theatre, and Asian percussion. These two stories of a man creating that elusive American second act, and also finding the perfect collaborator in his wife give this book a natural forward drive.

Critique of Everyday Life (3-volume Boxed Set)
by Henri Lefebvre (Author), Translated by John Moore & Gregory Elliott

Paperback $60.00

“The more needs a human being has, the more he exists,” quips Lefebvre in a savage critique of consumerist society, first published in 1947. The French philosopher, historian and Marxist sociologist, who died this summer at age 90, meditates on the dehumanization and ugliness smuggled into daily life under cover of purity, utility, beauty. He deconstructs leisure as a form of social control, spanks surrealism for its turning away from reality, and attempts to get past the “mystification” inherent in bourgeois life by analyzing Chaplin’s films, Brecht’s epic theater, peasant festivals, daydreams, Rimbaud and the rhythms of work and relaxation. Rejecting the inauthentic, which he perceives in a church service or in rote work from which one is alienated, Lefebvre nevertheless seeks to unearth the human potential that may be inherent in such rituals.

Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself (NYRB Classics)
by Robert Montgomery Bird