Six new paperbacks to check out this week.
HOW TO SURVIVE A PLAGUE: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed AIDS, by David France. (Vintage, $18.95) How did a group of grassroots protesters beat back a disease ravaging hundreds of thousands of people in the 1980s and ’90s? France’s remarkable account captures the on-the-ground activists and scientists pressuring a reluctant government to intervene and the bureaucracy that stalled their progress.
INTIMATIONS: Stories, by Alexandra Kleeman. (Harper Perennial, $15.99.) Kleeman’s novel, “You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine,” explored the peculiarities of the physical form. In her story collection, which traces life from birth to death, “the world is parsed with a charming exactitude that magnifies all its latent marvels and especially horrors,” Hermione Hoby wrote here.
THE SIX: The Lives of the Mitford Sisters, by Laura Thompson. (Picador, $17.) A fascinating group biography of the Mitford daughters, wealthy women who came of age in early 20th-century Britain, links their lives to the political upheavals of the time. Thompson offers satisfying portrayals, particularly of Diana, the beauty of the family who became a reviled fascist; Unity, a avowed Nazi supporter; and Deborah, an even-keeled duchess.
THE GUSTAV SONATA, by Rose Tremain. (Norton, $15.95.) Two young boys – Anton, the son of a Jewish family, and Gustav, whose father worked to save Jews at great professional expense – forge a lifelong relationship in postwar Switzerland. Tremain structures her novel as elegantly as a musical composition, complete with recurring themes. “Tremain is one of those few writers you trust completely when she goes to any unfamiliar territory, historical or emotional,” our reviewer, Michael Pye, wrote.
THE YEAR OF VOTING DANGEROUSLY: The Derangement of American Politics, by Maureen Dowd. (Twelve, $18.99) A collection of campaign-season columns skewers Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump – two longtime targets of Dowd, a New York Times opinion writer. Her takedown has a particular focus on the 2016 presidential election’s pageantry and pathologies.
THE TERRANAUTS, by T. Coraghessan Boyle. (Ecco/HarperCollins, $16.99.) The Biosphere 2 of the early 1990s, in which eight people were closed off in a sprawling ecosystem meant to prepare humans to colonize outer space, was by all accounts a colossal failure. Boyle looked to that splashy experiment as the subject of this novel, where eight so-called Terranauts squabble, fantasize and seethe.
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