Long, Last, Happy
by Barry Hannah
Long, Last, Happy is a fitting tribute to “one of the great prose pyrotechnicians of the last half-century,” said Robert P. Baird in The New York Observer. Hannah, who died last March at age 67, was a writer of blistering short stories about characters, “mostly men and mostly from Mississippi,” who shared his passions for motorcycles, fishing, and booze. This book collects 27 of Hannah’s scantly plotted stories as well as four “vivid and lively” linked pieces the author was working on before his death.
A Voice From Old New York
by Louis Auchincloss
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $25)
“Readers lost a thoughtful, wise author” when Louis Auchincloss died last January at 92, said David Hendricks in the San Antonio Express-News. Luckily Auchincloss, who wrote some 60 books while also practicing law, left behind this “posthumous gift,” a memoir of his upbringing among New York City’s Upper East Side elite. This tender portrait of family displays Auchincloss’ sharp ability to observe and “write critically about those who surrounded him, their failings as well as their humanities.”
The Petting Zoo
by Jim Carroll
Fans of Jim Carroll have been waiting for The Petting Zoo for nearly two decades, said Richard Hell in The New York Times. The protagonist is “an unschooled New York artist whose talent gains him early fame, but who dies in a crisis of fear that he’s betrayed himself spiritually.” For Carroll, who died in 2009, at age 60, this was familiar ground. The Petting Zoo is mainly “a mess,” but Carroll “could tell a story as well as anybody around,” and there are moments here of pure poetry.
The Memory Chalet
by Tony Judt
British essayist and historian Tony Judt, who died last year after a painful battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease, “spent much of the last two years of his life unable to move or speak,” said Mike Fischer in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. With assistance, he composed this brilliant collection of 25 short pieces that look back on his life. The result is “a bracing spiritual autobiography of a man whose lofty goal was to think for himself—and push each of us to do the same.”