brooklyn book store

these just in … 24 February, 2007

Lost Men: A Novel
by Brian Leung

Paperback $13.00

From Booklist
Soon after 12-year-old Westen Chan’s American mother dies in an accident, his Chinese father leaves the boy with his mother’s aunt and uncle and says he’ll be back. Two decades later, his father “returns” and suggests that father and son visit China together. Westen has grown to adulthood tormented by his abandonment, his failed relationships, his lack of familial and cultural roots. His father, who has spent his middle age tormented by abandoning his son and by childhood memories of his family’s flight from revolution in China, now also faces a terminal illness. Father and son are truly lost men, and the trip to China doesn’t provide the reconciliation and redemption both men desire. Lost Men is an accomplished first novel by the author of World Famous Love Acts (2004), an award-winning book of short stories. Written in the plainest of language, Lost Men is a powerful, universal story of inchoate fathers and sons.

The Jewish Writings    
by Hannah Arendt

Although Hannah Arendt is not primarily known as a Jewish thinker, she probably wrote more about Jewish issues than any other topic. As a young adult in Germany, she wrote about German Jewish history. After moving to France in 1933, she helped Jewish youth immigrate to Palestine. During her years in Paris, her principle concern was the transformation of antinomianism from prejudice to policy, which would culminate in the Nazi “final solution.” After France fell, Arendt escaped from an internment camp and made her way to America. There she wrote articles calling for a Jewish army to fight the Nazis. After the war, she supported the creation of a Jewish homeland in a binational (Arab-Jewish) state of Israel.

Arendt’s original conception of political freedom cannot be fully grasped apart from her experience as a Jew. In 1961 she attended Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem. Her report, Eichmann in Jerusalem, provoked an immense controversy, which culminated in her virtual excommunication from the worldwide Jewish community. Today that controversy is the subject of serious re-evaluation, especially among younger people in the United States, Europe, and Israel.

The publication of The Jewish Writings–much of which has never appeared before–traces Arendt’s life and thought as a Jew. It will put an end to any doubts about the centrality, from beginning to end, of Arendt’s Jewish experience.

The Mule
by Juan Eslava Galan, translated by Lisa Dillman

Paperback $12.00

From Publishers Weekly
This light Spanish Civil War story follows the romantic and military misadventures of a perennially put-upon muleteer stuck fighting for a cause he doesn’t believe in. Juan Castro Pérez stumbles on a stray mule (he names her Valentina) and smuggles her into his army regiment; his plan is to bring her to his family once the war is over. Though Castro sympathizes with the nationalist forces, his region is solidly Communist and he’s forced to enlist on that side, where he, like many of his comrades, does his utmost to avoid combat and get back home; one of his more engaging exploits involves wooing a pensioner’s daughter. He eventually defects to the nationalists, and when Castro and Valentina inadvertently cross paths with a group of Communist soldiers, an unarmed Castro thinks he’s doomed until the soldiers order him at gunpoint to take them prisoner so they can survive the war. A journalist catches wind of the incident and twists the story into a morale-boosting puff piece that turns Castro into a poster boy for Franco’s cause. Castro’s dedication to Valentina provides the heartfelt through line to this winsome war story and adds a dose of heartbreak at the novel’s close.

Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents
by Jane Isay

Paperback $14.00

From Publishers Weekly
As baby boomer parents age, they’re discovering the empty-nest syndrome is nothing compared to what happens when their kids graduate from college and start leading lives of their own. To a generation famous for being involved in every aspect of their children’s lives, it can be upsetting to find that those children no longer need or welcome your advice. How does one parent children who no longer need parenting? Publishing veteran Isay, an editor and mother of two grown sons, interviews scores of parents and adult children of all ages to see how they are doing it. The stories are heartwarming, and Isay recounts them with intelligence and compassion. What does she find? Nothing Ann Landers hasn’t already told us. Mainly: don’t give advice; make friends with your children’s significant others; and remember that love heals. The most compelling story is Isay’s own. One wishes it were the centerpiece of the book rather than tacked on as an epilogue. Her experience is an example of her most interesting discovery: children are quick to forgive and often the ones who take the initiative in forging a new brand of closeness between themselves and their parents—a closeness that is best described as adult.

Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human
by Elizabeth Hess

Hardcover $23.00 - 10%

From Publishers Weekly
In what is surely one of the most memorable and intelligent recent books about animal-human interaction, Hess (Lost and Found: Dogs, Cats and Everyday Heroes at a Country Animal Shelter) tells the story of Nim Chimpsky, who in the 1970s was the subject of an experiment begun at the University of Oklahoma to find out whether a chimp could learn American Sign Language—and thus refute Noam Chomsky’s influential thesis that language is inherent only in humans. Nim was sent to live with a family in New York City and taught human language like any other child. Hess sympathetically yet unerringly details both the project’s successes and failures, its heroes and villains, as she recounts Nim’s odyssey from the Manhattan town house to a mansion in the Bronx and finally back to Oklahoma, where he was bounced among various facilities as financial, personal and scientific troubles plagued the study. The book expertly shows why the Nim experiment was a crucial event in animal studies, but more importantly, Hess captures Nim’s legendary charm, mischievous sense of humor, and keen understanding of human beings. This may well be the only book on linguistics and primatology that will leave its readers in tears over the life and times of its amazing subject.

Remember Me?
by Sophie Kinsella

Hardcover $25.00 - 10%

From Publishers Weekly
Shopaholicpowerhouse Kinsella delights again with her latest, a winning if unoriginal tale of amnesia striking an ambitious shrew and changing her life for the better. After taking a nasty bump on the head, Lexi Smart awakens in a hospital convinced that it’s 2004 and that she’s just missed her father’s funeral. It’s actually three years later, and she no longer has crooked teeth, frizzy hair and a loser