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New and Noteworthy
Missing Person
by Patrick Modiano

WINNER OF THE 2014 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE!

In this strange, elegant novel, winner of France's premier literary prize the Prix Goncourt, Patrick Modiano portrays a man in pursuit of the identity he lost in the murky days of the Paris Occupation, the black hole of French memory.

For ten years Guy Roland has lived without a past. His current life and name were given to him by his recently retired boss, Hutte, who welcomed him, a onetime client, into his detective agency. Guy makes full use of Hutte's files – directories, yearbooks, and papers of all kinds going back half a century – but his leads are few. Could he really be the person in that photograph, a young man remembered by some as a South American attaché? Or was he someone else, perhaps the disappeared scion of a prominent local family? He interviews strangers and is tantalized by half-clues until, at last, he grasps a thread that leads him through the maze of his own repressed experience.

On one level Missing Person is a detective thriller, a 1950s film noir mix of smoky cafés, illegal passports, and insubstantial figures crossing bridges in the fog. On another level, it is also a haunting meditation on the nature of the self. Modiano's sparce, hypnotic prose, superbly translated by Daniel Weissbort, draws his readers into the intoxication of a rare literary experience.

Praise for Missing Person

Delicate and cunning . . . Modiano's method is to sidle up to subjects of mystery and horror, indicating them without broaching them, as if gingerly fingering the outside of a poison bottle. . . he opens dark doors into the past out of a sunlit present.
—John Sturrock, Times Literary Supplement


Read excerpts of Modiano's works here.

Honeymoon
by Patrick Modiano & Barbara Wright

WINNER OF THE 2014 NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE!

"A beautiful example of Modiano's fluid storytelling."—Booklist

Jean B., the narrator of Honeymoon, is submerged in the world where night and day, past and present, have no demarcations. Having spent his entire adult life making documentary movies about lost explorers, Jean suddenly decides to abandon his wife and career, and takes what seems to be a journey to nowhere. He spends his solitary days recounting or imagining the lives of Ingrid and Rigaud, a refugee couple he met more than twenty years ago. Little by little, their story takes on more reality than Jean's existence, as his excavation of the past slowly becomes an allencompassing obsession.

In Honeymoon, Patrick Modiano constructs an existential tale of suspense and longing, and of the past's hold over a shifting, ambiguous present. Barbara Wright's translation remains true to Modiano's simple, melodious prose of a born storyteller. In the words of Le Monde, this novel truly shows "a magician at work." Jacques-Pierre Amette of Le Point called Modiano, "Possibly the best witness of our generation, and the most ruthless."

Honeymoon is the first book in the Verba Mundi series which offers the best in modern
world literature--whether by such established masters as Cesare Pavese and Georges Perec, or by some of the world's younger talented writers, these books are meant to invite adventurous readers to partake in a diversity of cultures and enhance our appreciation of the world in which we live.
 
Patrick Modiano was born near Paris 1945. His other works in English include Catherine Certitude (Godine, 1993), Missing Person (Godine, 2005) for which he won the Prix Goncourt in 2008, A Trace of Malice, and the screenplay Lacombe Lucien (with Louis Malle).

Catherine Certitude
by Patrick Modiano

WINNER OF THE 2014 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE!

This charming book will delight any child — or adult — who appreciates ballet, Paris, New York, childhood, and mystery (not necessarily in that order). The book's plot is deceptively simple: Catherine, the eponymous heroine, begins her story watching her own daughter demonstrate jazz steps in their ballet school on a snowy afternoon in New York. Memory takes her (and the reader) back to her childhood, spent in the tenth arrondissement of Paris. In her youth, Catherine lives with her gentle father, Georges Certitude, who runs a shipping business with his partner, a loud, failed poet named Casterade. The real partners in this story, however, are the father and daughter who share the simple pleasures of daily life: sitting in the church square, walking to school, going to her ballet class every Thursday afternoon.

Behind this gossamer storyline, Catherine Certitude is filled with mystery. Why did Georges change his name to Certitude? What kind of trouble with the law did Casterade rescue him from? Exactly what does Georges do, and what kind of deals is he always discussing with men in worn raincoats? Why did Catherine's mother, herself a ballerina, leave Georges to return to New York? That these mysteries remain mysteries is part of the book's charm. But that Catherine and her father love the ballet, music, and City of Lights, is certain

Read excerpts of Modiano's works here.

Honeymoon
by Patrick Modiano

WINNER OF THE 2014 NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE!

Modiano, winner of the Prix Goncourt, constructs "a haunting tale of quiet intensity" (Review of Contemporary Fiction). It parallels the story of Jean B., a filmmaker who abandons his wife and career to hole up in a Paris hotel, with that of Ingrid and Rigaud, a refugee couple he'd met twenty years before, and whose mystery continues to haunt him.

Praise for Honeymoon

His writing has the spare strength and telling concentration of a Simenon.
—The Independent

Read excerpts of Modiano's works here.

The Boston Raphael
by Belinda Rathbone

 

"Perhaps the most exciting book on the art world since Jonathan Harr's 'The Lost Painting.'" —Sebastian Smee, The Boston Globe

 

"In the compelling story of her father Perry Rathbone, and the years when he was the elegant and revolutionary director of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Belinda Rathbone evokes our country's most glamorous years ...The Boston Raphael is a combination of personal memoir and rich, deliciously detailed history that will keep you turning the pages." —Susan Cheever 

 

"In this fascinating book about a watershed moment in the culture of America's art museums, Rathbone (Walker Evans) considers her father Perry Rathbone's directorship at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA)…[Rathbone's] book sheds light on museology of the present as well as of the past." —Publishers Weekly

On the eve of its centennial celebrations in December, 1969, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts announced the acquisition of an unknown and uncatalogued painting attributed to Raphael. Boston's coup made headlines around the world. Soon afterward, an Italian art sleuth began investigating the details of the painting's export from Italy, challenging the museum's right to ownership. Simultaneously, experts on both sides of the Atlantic lined up to debate its very authenticity. While these contests played themselves out on the international stage, the crisis deepened within the museum as its charismatic director, Perry T. Rathbone, faced the most challenging crossroads of his thirty-year career. The Boston Raphael was a media sensation in its time, but the full story of the forces that converged on the museum and how they intersected with the challenges of the Sixties is now revealed in full detail by the director's daughter.

In her quest for the true story behind this pivotal event in her father's life, Belinda Rathbone digs into the background of the affair as it was reported in the popular press, both question- ing the inevitability of its outcome and revealing the power struggle within the museum that led to his resignation. She draws almost entirely from primary source material in various archival collections and over a hundred contemporary and personal interviews. The book is lavishly illustrated with full-color plates and many previously unpublished photographs.

Belinda Rathbone is a biographer and historian who has written widely on 20th century American photography. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Walker Evans: A Biography, as well as important essays on the work of Paul Strand, Alfred Stieglitz, and many contemporary artists and photographers. Rathbone is also the author of the memoir, The Guynd: A Scottish Journal. As a fine arts journalist, she has written for House and Garden, The World of Interiors, and the magazine Antiques.

The Lonely Typewriter
By Peter Ackerman & Max Dalton

Pablo Pressman has homework to do, and Pablo will do almost anything to avoid doing his homework. But when his computer breaks down, he is desperate. His mother takes him up to the attic to discover her old typewriter. A "what-writer"? asks Pablo, mystified. When his mother shows him how to strike the keys just so, and the words start to appear on paper, Pablo is delighted. And imagine his triumph when he presents his homework at school, amazing his teacher and all his friends with the story of the mechanical marvel that saved the day.

This is PETER ACKERMAN's second book with Max Dalton. Their first book, The Lonely Phone Booth, was selected for the Smithsonian's 2010 Notable Books for Children and adapted and produced as a musical at the Manhattan Children's Theater. Peter co-wrote the movies Ice Age and Ice Age 3. Currently he is a writer on the TV show The Americans, and his web-series The Go Getters can be seen on http://thegogetterstv.com.

MAX DALTON lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina and has been illustrating since he was two years old. Over the past twenty years, he has been involved with drawing comics, creating animated tv, and doing editorial illustrations. Last year he published Extreme Opposites to extreme acclaim.

The Bartlett Book of Garden Elements
By Michael V. Bartlett & Rose L. Bartlett

Once the horticultural bones of a garden have been laid out, the next questions generally considered are the manmade objects that are required. There are any number of approaches, and the savvy gardener, after determining what designs would be best suited to the site and how additions should be positioned, wonders: "What are the options?" Whether it's benches, bridges, or  birdhouses, paving stones, fountains, or gazebos, this book is the "go to" source to find the answers, the best of their kind, hundreds of examples, all illustrated in color, and representing solutions from around the world.

Here, in over 1000 photographs are the possibilities that can be considered. On every page are multiple images of what can be bought "off the shelf " or reproduced by a master craftsman, structures and solutions displayed in every sort of position and environment.

Whatever the challenge, the Bartletts have seen it, solved it, or recorded the best that exists. In twenty chapters, they lay out possibilities from around the world, each chapter preceded by a lengthy essay on the history and evolution of the structure in question and the best way to approach the challenges of choice and location. For years to come and for gardeners worldwide, this will
be the standard reference, an ambitious, comprehensive and colorful compendium of the very best garden ornaments and elements presently available.

A list of representative elements featured in the chapters of The Bartlett Book of Garden Elements:
ALLÉES, ARBORS, BEEHIVES, BIRDHOUSES, BOOT SCRAPERS, BRIDGES, FENCES, FOUNTAINS, FURNITURE, GATES, GAZEBOS, PAVING MATERIALS, PERGOLAS, PLANTERS, POOLS & PONDS, SCULPTURE & STATUARY, SUNDIALS, TOPIARY, WALLS

Michael V. Bartlett (1953 – 2008), a landscape architect, designed gardens for embassies, commercial projects, and private homes. A fifth-generation landscape architect, he redesigned the gardens of the Moroccan, French, and
Finnish embassies.

Rose L. Bartlett worked in partnership with Michael for twenty-eight years, complementing his garden designs with flowers, herbs, and edible plantings. She researched and organized the many slide lectures they presented on garden history and design throughout the world.


The Handel and Haydn Society
Edited by Teresa Neff and Jan Swafford

Founded in 1815, the Handel & Haydn Society is by far the oldest musical organization in America. From its Boston and New England roots in singing schools and societies through the formative days of the early nineteenth century, when the Society's primary models were Handel (the classical forefather) and Haydn (the innovator), it has been a mainstay of music in America. The thirteen essays and the numerous illustrations collected here bring to life its rich history and its recent metamorphosis into the foremost contemporary exponent of early music.

And what decades these have been! Works like Handel's Messiah, Haydn's The Creation, and Bach's St. Matthew Passion premiered in this country with the Handel & Haydn Society. Their roster of artistic directors, starting with the arrival of Thomas Dunn and culminating with the brilliant leadership of Christopher Hogwood and Harry Christophers, has been unrivalled. While their performance of Handel's Messiah is an annual tradition in Boston, they have also ventured into less well travelled repertoires, introducing a somewhat conservative city to new scores, new composers, and, with only thirty permanent members of the orchestra and chorus, an entirely new approach to orchestral and vocal performance.

Reading these essays, one comes to understand not only the evolution of a Boston institution, but the struggles, defeats, and triumphs many musical organizations that manage to survive must endure. All this-set against the political, cultural, and historical backdrop of a city that always took its art, and its music, seriously. Illustrated in full color with both photographs and artifacts, this is history at its best-a fitting tribute to the thousands who have collaborated over two centuries to create and perform beautiful music and who have made this institution a model of its kind.



"American classical music launched in earnest on Christmas Day of 1815. The Boston Handel and Haydn Society-comprised of middle-class music lovers-unveiled excerpts from European oratorios, and concluded with a rousing 'Hallelujah' chorus. "There is nothing to compare with it; it is the wonder of the nation," proclaimed one critic. Next year, the Society will celebrate its two-hundredth anniversary. How many other American phenomena have endured for two centuries?" - William Robin, The New Yorker, Jan. 29, 2014

I Remember
By Georges Perec

At once an affectionate portrait of mid-century Paris and a daring pointillist autobiography, Georges Perec's I Remember is the last of this essential writer's major works to be translated into English. Consisting of 480 numbered statements, all beginning identically with "I remember," and all limited to pieces of public knowledge—brand names and folk wisdom, actors and illnesses, places and things ("I remember: "When parents drink, children tipple"; "I remember Hermès handbags, with their tiny padlocks"; "I remember myxomatosis")—the book represents a secret key to the world of Perec's fiction. As critic, translator, and Perec biographer David Bellos notes in his introduction to this edition, since its original publication, "It's hardly possible to utter the words je me souviens in French these days without committing a literary allusion." As playful and puzzling as the best of Perec's novels, I Remember began as a simple writing exercise, and grew into an expansive, exhilarating work of art: the image of one unmistakable and irreplaceable life, shaped from the material of our collective past. For this edition, Perec's 480 memories, sometimes obvious, sometimes obscure, have been elucidated and explained by David Bellos.

The Lost Child
by Wesley McNair

In this volume inspired by the impending death of his mother, Wesley McNair, long a poet of New England places, takes a new path, exploring her homeplace in the Ozarks of Southern Missouri. The linked poems of the book describe characters and events with the small, telling details for which McNair is noted, yet it also includes large themes: hope, delusion, family struggles, and lost selves. But the most important theme of all is reconciliation, as McNair attempts through these poems to know and understand his mother. Combining humor, sorrow, and his singular gift for narrative, this is McNair's most ambitious and moving collection, showing yet again why Philip Levine has called him "one of the great storytellers of contemporary poetry."

Praise for Wesley McNair

"By the faculty of his attention—to people, to their talk—McNair's compassion turns itself into art." – Donald Hall, The Harvard Review

"[He is] a master craftsman with a remarkable ear." – Maxine Kumin, Ploughshares

"He has produced one of the most individual and original bodies of work by a poet of his generation." – Ruminator Review

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