11 new books we recommend this week

BACK THE TENTH: A new chance at life, by Delia Ephron. (Small, brown, $ 29.) When her husband of 33 years died, Ephron – a writer of manuscripts, essays and novels – had a new topic to write about: loss. Her breadth of subjects widened as she was diagnosed with cancer and found love again. These are her memories of the extraordinary events, put together with repeated moments that offer their own weight. The book “is less the story of a woman who loses a man than it is the story of a woman who falls in love again at the age of 72,” Joyce Maynard writes in her review. “Ephron presents a touching and heartfelt portrait of romance – also of passion.… If there is such a thing as a feel-good memoir, it is this.”

HIGH SINDS: The birth of the Victorians and modern Britain, by Simon Heffer. (Pegasus, $ 39.95.) Heffer’s story of Britain in the mid-decades of the 19th century is a story of a society that was transformed as the nation moved ever closer to a humane and civilized social order. Heffer “identifies ideas and emotions as the driving force of this transformation,” writes Benjamin Schwarz in his review. “Intellectuals, politicians and, to a large extent, activists from the upper and upper middle classes, he argues, driven by ‘a sense of serious, uninterested moral purpose’, sought ‘to improve the state of society as a whole’. This high-minded effort was manifested in ‘the measures taken by the enlightened government ‘, measures that unfolded in a series of landmark parliamentary actions and administrative innovations during the 40-odd years Heffer examines. “

TELL ME EVERYTHING: The story of a private investigation, by Erika Krouse. (Flatiron, $ 28.99.) This lyrical, shocking, progressive memoir from Krouse’s time as a private detective is high-level literary fiction – the author manages the difficult high-wire act of balancing the story of a case with a more personal dive into her past. Additionally, according to our reviewer Patrick Hoffman (herself a PI), “she certainly conveys the emotional realities of the job: the narcotic excitement of a good interview, the exhilaration of dirty situations, the constant crunchy feeling of being a bully, a manipulator , a liar.”

LETTER TO GWEN JOHN, by Celia Paul. (New York Review Books, $ 29.95.) Paul’s haunting memories take the form of correspondence with a co-painter she never knew: Gwen John, who died in 1939. Attracted by the parallels in their lives, Paul meditates on aging, personality, loneliness, art. “The clarity of gender grammars is compelling and completely contemporary,” writes Drusilla Modjeska in her review. “Truth does not run one way, just as little as power and vulnerability do.”

CHEVY IN THE HOLE, by Kelsey Ronan. (Holt, $ 26.99.) Set in Flint, Mich., This moving debut novel poses a central question in the form of a budding romance between a young chef recovering from opioid addiction and an activist trying to save a city in crisis: Giver relentless commitment always positive results? “They form a relationship based on something subtly beautiful, an unspoken but deep understanding of a particular kind of loneliness that they both share,” Dean Bakopoulos writes in his review. “The novel’s main driving force becomes a question that often applies to relationships as much as it does to stories of America’s forgotten and marginalized landscapes: Can we save them with love, or will they simply collapse?”

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