Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Village Voice's best beach books

The Village Voice rounded up a few suggestions for what books one might pack before boarding the jitney for the Hamptons.

Here are only two of the recommendations:
Double Fault By Lionel Shriver

Photographed kissing the phallic statuette she received when We Need to Talk About Kevin won the 2005 Orange Prize, Shriver wore a look of satisfaction so intense as to verge on impropriety. Now Serpent's Tail has reissued Shriver's 1997 Double Fault, an utterly compelling tale of love and envy in which Willy (short for Wilhelmina) and Eric meet on a Riverside Park court, fall in love, and marry without adequately comprehending the damage their changing national rankings will wreak on this union between two deeply competitive professional tennis players. The short span of an athlete's career means that Willy at 23 considers herself already middle-aged, and a devastating knee injury proves impossible to overcome. Fortunately, making one's mark as a novelist is not subject to the same physiological constraints. Jenny Davidson

The Eagle's Throne By Carlos Fuentes Translated by Kristina Cordero

In Fuentes's 15th novel, which takes place in the year 2020, Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. president, has blocked Mexico's access to phone, fax, and e-mail. Delirious and overexcited, the country's most influential men—controlled by seductive women who urge them to be ruthless—are forced to leave a written trail of their indiscretions. In a series of hysterical letters referencing Susan Sontag, Mission Impossible, and Hitler, they all scheme to be the next president. These charmingly sleazy characters take much more pleasure in work than sex: Flirty games and betrayals are mere warm-up for the "prolonged orgasm" of political sway. Rachel Aviv

Those two picks don't tickle your fancy? There are a dozen or so more recommendations from the Voice: click here to read them.

Read about Shriver's Orange Prize--and see her above mentioned kiss--here. And click here to learn about the 2006 winner of the Orange Prize.

About the Orange Prize: Do women really deserve a book prize of their own?

Viv Groskop praised Double Fault--it "is not a novel about tennis or rivalry; it's about love, marriage and the balance of power in relationships"--in the Guardian here.

Earlier this year Deborah Solomon of the New York Times Magazine asked Carlos Fuentes, "How do you explain the public's fascination with [Condi Rice]?" His answer:
She is intelligent. She dresses well. She is capable of nuance. She seems to have something more behind her facade than one would suspect. She has better legs than Bush. And I know what his legs look like because I have seen him falling off a bicycle in shorts.
Yvonne Zipp reviewed The Eagle's Throne here. Tina Rosenberg reviewed it for Slate here.

--Marshal Zeringue